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

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (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 Trump 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 Sanders (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 Warren (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. 

"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 Biden, 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."

"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-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.). Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairman Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) has also issued support to the senator. 

Warren has, meanwhile, won endorsements from freshman Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Rep. Joaquin Castro (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 Buttigieg, who have called for more moderate proposals.