Bernie Sanders drop out of US presidential race leaving Biden to face Trump

US presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has announced that he is suspending his campaign to become leader of his party.

It means Joe Biden is the presumptive Democratic nominee for president and will square off against incumbent Donald Trump in November.

The Vermont senator broke the news to his staff in a conference call, his campaign said in a statement, and he now plans to address supporters during a livestream later today.

Sanders, 78, attracted a loyal following with his an anti-establishment style that has changed little over five decades.

 He first became an elected official in 1981, as mayor of Burlington in Vermont.

Ten years later, he was elected to the House of Representatives as Vermont’s sole congressman. In 2006, he moved to the Senate.

It is a remarkable turnaround for Biden, 77, who said: 

We were told, well, when you got to Super Tuesday, it’d be over. Well, it may be over for the other guy. Make no mistake, this campaign will send Donald Trump packing.

The departure of Sanders, the last remaining rival to Biden, sets up a battle between the 77-year-old former vice president and Trump, 73, who is seeking a second four-year term in office.

Sanders' decision to step aside came with the country in the grip of a coronavirus outbreak that upended the nominating elections schedule, with some primaries postponed and others up in the air.

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