Hours after a speech to his delegates that drew fierce boos and palpable anger, Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday texted his delegates a plea for peace on the convention floor Monday night in Philadelphia. The text blast came just a few hours after Sanders called on delegates to help Hillary Clinton defeat her opponent because the alternative is a danger to American society.
"I ask you as a personal courtesy to me to not engage in any kind of protest on the floor," Sanders wrote in a text message blasted to delegates, including Gwen Snyder, a Philadelphia-based grassroots activist. Snyder, a whip over Sanders delegates in southeastern Pennsylvania, said the blast came from the same phone number she'd seen on earlier campaign instructions.
"Its(sic) of utmost importance you explain this to your delegations - Bernie," the text message said.
Snyder said she received the message around 4 p.m., hours after Sanders appeared before a roaring crowd at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and urged them to help elect Clinton, while stopping short of explicitly releasing them to vote for her as the Democratic presidential nominee this week.
At that meeting, Sanders urged his delegates to back Clinton because the alternative -- GOP nominee Donald Trump -- was a threat to American civil liberties and the Constitution.
"Trump is a bully and a demagogue!” Sanders told a packed ballroom full of hundreds of impassioned loyalists.
“So is Hillary!” were among chants he got in return. More than once they booed when he said her name.
Delegates left that deafening meeting disenchanted but with no explicit instructions from Sanders to quell their disaffection later Monday at Wells Fargo Center, where Sanders was expected to deliver a convention speech.
The Center City meeting with Sanders' delegates on the opening day of the convention followed a tumultuous weekend in which leaked DNC emails prompted the resignation of party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. News of those emails, which suggested a concerted party effort to stifle Sanders’ campaign, seemed only to inflame his delegates as they arrived in Philadelphia.
In a 20-minute speech that at times sounded as if his campaign never ended, Sanders took credit for shaping the debate. "Make no mistake about it. We have made history," he told the roaring crowd. "We're not fringe players anymore."
Some had signed a petition Sunday night that has circulated among delegates that would sanction a roll call vote on the floor of the convention at Wells Fargo Center.
But any hope they may have had for Sanders breaking with the party were dashed when he urged them to line up in support of Clinton. Trump, he said, is a great threat to civil liberties and the Constitution. “Trump has made bigotry and hatred the cornerstone of his campaign,” Sanders said.
Still, some of his supporters wanted none of it.
“And Hillary has insulted us!” one man said, a common jeer.
As the speech ended and the crowd filtered out, some delegates were resolute in their support of the Vermont senator. Stephanie Felten, 36, of Round Rock, Tex., said voters who elected her were urging her to remain firm.
“They just want to make sure that we don’t flip,“ she said.
Asked if she could vote for Clinton, Felten couldn’t say. “I’m here for Bernie right now,” she said.
Earlier in the day, top Pennsylvania Democrats had gathered at a breakfast for the state delegation, and urged unity.
Pennsylvania Democratic Party chair Marcel Groen asked Sanders supporters to stand and told them "We want you. We need you. We need your thoughts, we need your ideas, we need your passion."