Merkley on delaying endorsement: 'We have a different set of cards this time'

Merkley on delaying endorsement: 'We have a different set of cards this time'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyDems open to killing filibuster in next Congress Democrats warm to idea of studying reparations Senate Democrat releasing book on Trump admin's treatment of migrants at border MORE (D-Ore.) on Sunday defended his decision to delay endorsing a 2020 presidential candidate, after backing Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGabbard arrives in Puerto Rico to 'show support' amid street protests Democratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall Sanders unveils plan to guarantee the 'right to a secure retirement' MORE (I-Vt.) in the senator's 2016 bid for the White House. 

"I think it's a robust debate, it's no longer Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders," Merkley said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMatt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' What to expect when Mueller testifies: Not much McConnell challenger faces tougher path after rocky launch MORE is not a candidate. We have a different set of cards this time." 

Merkley wrote a New York Times op-ed in 2016 endorsing Sanders for his ability to address "kitchen table" issues that impact Americans. 

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Merkley told NBC's Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddSanders campaign vents frustration with media, polls Megan Rapinoe reveals what she'd say to fans who are Trump supporters Rapinoe: Trump's message divides 'so he can conquer' MORE on Sunday that he feels there are "a lot of capable individuals running" for the 2020 nomination who "understand the kitchen table."

The crowded field of Democratic primary candidates are taking on health care, housing, living wage jobs an other issues "incredibly neglected" under the Trump administration, Merkley said. 

"I'm looking forward to them laying out that vision getting America excited," Merkley said.