Following a litany reports teased an imminent announcement, only to be denied by his staff, Bernie Sanders has finally officially thrown his hat into the ring, officially acknowledging his plan to seek the 2020 Democratic nomination during an interview Tuesday with Vermont Public Radio.
Unlike his last sparsely-attended campaign announcement in 2015, which attracted a few idle jokes from the Daily Show's John Stewart about Sanders' resemblance to Seinfeld co-creator Larry David...
...Sanders enters the 2020 race as one of the front-runners, placing near the top of most polls along side Vice President Joe Biden. Though he has refused to refused to officially join the Democratic Party, many of the positions that he has advocated - including Medicare for All and a $15 minimum wage - have been endorsed by many of his campaign rivals.
Though Sanders has seen his profile rise from relative unknown to one of the leading lights of the party's revitalized "socialist" faction over the past few years, he delivered his announcement during an interview to a local public radio station in Vermont.
"I wanted to let the people of the state of Vermont know about this first," Sanders told VPR's Bob Kinzel. "And what I promise to do is, as I go around the country, is to take the values that all of us in Vermont are proud of — a belief in justice, in community, in grassroots politics, in town meetings — that's what I'm going to carry all over this country."
Sanders said he's running because he opposes Donald Trump, whom he called "an embarrassment", a "homophobe" and a "racist."
"I think the current occupant of the White House is an embarrassment to our country," Sanders said. "I think he is a pathological liar... I also think he is a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, a xenophobe, somebody who is gaining cheap political points by trying to pick on minorities, often undocumented immigrants."
Sanders said his campaign hopes to enlist one million people in a "grassroots movement of people prepared to stand up and fight."
Sanders acknowledged he will encounter a "very different campaign," than in 2016, when he emerged as the sole serious challenger to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and won 23 primaries and caucuses.
He's also announcing as a scandal over allegations of sexism during his 2016 campaign loom over the senator and his presidential ambitions. Now that he has officially announced, Bernie has become the sixth Senator to declare his intention to run.