The ice cream magnate spoke Sunday to a gymnasium of supporters in Franklin, New Hampshire, telling them “as a person who has been his constituent for the last 30 years, I can tell you: this guy is the real thing.”
In an interview with ABC News, Cohen explained his involvement.
“Finally, there’s a politician worth working for,” he said with a grin. “So I’m working for him.”
Along with an endorsement and some prepared remarks, the former CEO, 64, brought along ice cream. A line formed around the front door as he personally handed out favorites, including Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, to anyone who wanted a scoop. Nearly all of the hundreds of attendees stayed.
It was ice cream weather, too. A day after sweating through his shirt at a town hall without air conditioning, Sanders spoke for almost 90 minutes, over the whir of several fans.
He spent much of his time railing against the “millionaire class,” which he claimed was destroying the country.
“We are going to end their greed, whether they like it or not,” Sanders said to applause.
The message has resonated with Cohen.
“The big issue for me has always been poverty and income inequality. And that’s really the core issue for him,” he said.
Ben & Jerry’s became famous for its employee-friendly structure — until 1995, no manager made more than five times the salary of an entry-level employee. That policy ended when Cohen stepped down as CEO. But even since, the Vermont-based company formed a tight relationship with its senator, who identifies as socialist.
Cohen told the crowd his buddy Sanders has a chance.
“If we work for him, if we get out there, and knock on the doors, and wear the buttons, and put the bumper stickers on our cars ... he’s going to upset the pundits again,” he predicted.
Cohen plans to chip in, too.
“Whenever I come somewhere, I have to come with ice cream," Cohen said. "What’s the ice cream man without the ice cream?”