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Jayapal: 'We will end up with another Donald Trump' if the US doesn't elect a progressive

Jayapal: 'We will end up with another Donald Trump' if the US doesn't elect a progressive
© Greg Nash

Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalProgressive lawmakers press DHS chief on immigration detention Five hurdles Democrats face to pass an infrastructure bill Against mounting odds, Biden seeks GOP support for infrastructure plan MORE (D-Wash.), co-chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said in a new interview Monday that the United States risks ending up with "another Donald TrumpDonald TrumpBiden administration still seizing land near border despite plans to stop building wall: report Illinois House passes bill that would mandate Asian-American history lessons in schools Overnight Defense: Administration says 'low to moderate confidence' Russia behind Afghanistan troop bounties | 'Low to medium risk' of Russia invading Ukraine in next few weeks | Intelligence leaders face sharp questions during House worldwide threats he MORE down the road" if it fails to elect a progressive presidential candidate. 

"Even if it is a Democratic president, if we don't address these issues we will end up with another Donald Trump down the road," Jayapal told CBS News the same day she formally announced her endorsement of Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders: Trump was right about 'trying to end endless wars' Democrats battle over best path for Puerto Rico Bernie Sanders says he disagrees with Tlaib's call for 'no more police' MORE (I-Vt.). "Because people are suffering. And our job has to be to fix that suffering."

Jayapal first told The Washington Post on Sunday of her plans to publicly back Sanders. Her endorsement comes just weeks ahead of the Iowa caucuses and as Sanders battles with Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDemocrats reintroduce bill to block US from using nuclear weapons first CEO who gave employees K minimum wage says revenue tripled 6 years later Forgiving K in school loans would free 36 million student borrowers from debt: data MORE (D-Mass.) for support among progressives. The congresswoman told CBS News that she had chosen Sanders over Warren due to a belief that her and Sanders possess the same background. 

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"At the end of the day, I think for me it came down to the fact that Bernie Sanders is like me: an organizer," Jayapal explained. "He believes the change that we need is bold and big, and institutional, but it doesn't happen without building a broader movement." 

She noted that she would publicly work to support a Warren candidacy if she won the Democratic nomination. But right now, Jayapal said that she believes Sanders is the candidate to "turn this country around." 

She also contrasted Warren and Sanders with former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden administration still seizing land near border despite plans to stop building wall: report Olympics, climate on the agenda for Biden meeting with Japanese PM Boehner on Afghanistan: 'It's time to pull out the troops' MORE, saying that she didn't think Biden would classify himself as a progressive.  

"It's about understanding that while it might sound more comforting to people to have gradual change, and just do small tweaks because it feels ... less disruptive, the truth is, we have deep structural inequities in the system today," she said. 

Jayapal, who was first elected to Congress in 2016, said in a series of tweets Monday that she was putting her support behind Sanders because he "has the bold passion, authenticity & clarity that working people across this country desperately need."

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"True progressives are the first to the best and most just idea, and then they build the movement to MAKE that idea real," she added in a separate tweet, noting, among other things, that Sanders helped lead the movement for "Medicare for All." 

In addition to Jayapal, Sanders's 2020 campaign has gained endorsements from progressive Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOn The Money: Weekly jobless claims fall to lowest level since lockdowns | Retail sales surge in March | Dow, S&P hit new records Ocasio-Cortez says she disagrees with holding up infrastructure over SALT Democrats battle over best path for Puerto Rico MORE (D-N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarNew York Times defends itself against Project Veritas defamation suit Tlaib: US policing 'intentionally racist,' can't be reformed Biden, first lady send 'warmest greetings' to Muslims for Ramadan MORE (D-Minn.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring Democrats brace for new 'defund the police' attacks Bernie Sanders says he disagrees with Tlaib's call for 'no more police' MORE (D-Mich.). Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairman Mark PocanMark William PocanNIH to make announcement on fetal tissue research policy amid Trump-era restrictions Biden defense budget criticized by Republicans, progressives alike Senate GOP slams Biden defense budget MORE (D-Wis.) has also issued support to the senator. 

Warren has, meanwhile, won endorsements from freshman Rep. Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyFDA ends restrictions on mailing abortion pills during pandemic Tlaib: US policing 'intentionally racist,' can't be reformed Pelosi's advice for the 'Squad': 'You're not a one-person show' MORE (D-Mass.), Rep. Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroDemocrats ask Biden to reverse employee policy on past marijuana use The Hill's Morning Report - Biden's next act: Massive infrastructure plan with tax hikes Blinken to appear before Foreign Affairs Committee MORE (D-Texas) and his brother Julián Castro, who announced his support after suspending his own presidential campaign. 

Sanders and Warren have based their campaigns on dismantling current systems in favor of more progressive agendas. Their visions have led to contentious confrontations with candidates such as Biden and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegWhite House says gas tax won't be part of infrastructure bill The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden meets with bipartisan lawmakers for infrastructure negotiations Senate Republicans label Biden infrastructure plan a 'slush fund' MORE, who have called for more moderate proposals.