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 MerkleyEnvironmentalists, Oregon senators oppose DOT increasing transport of natural gas by rail Senate Democrat says he is concerned intelligence community is 'bending' Soleimani presentations Democrats conflicted over how to limit Trump's war powers MORE (D-Ore.) on Sunday defended his decision to delay endorsing a 2020 presidential candidate, after backing Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders joins Biden atop 2020 Democratic field: poll The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Trump on Clinton's Sanders comments: 'She's the one that people don't like' 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 ClintonThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Trump on Clinton's Sanders comments: 'She's the one that people don't like' Hillary Clinton tears open wound with her attack on Sanders 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 ToddGOP senator 'open' to impeachment witnesses 'within the scope' of articles Sunday shows - All eyes on Senate impeachment trial GOP senator, Chuck Todd spar over whether Lev Parnas should testify in Senate impeachment trial 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.