Ocasio-Cortez on Biden endorsement: 'We'll see'

Ocasio-Cortez on Biden endorsement: 'We'll see'
© Aaron Schwartz

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezTrump campaign rolls out TV spots in early voting states after advertising pause Trump adviser Jason Miller: Biden running mate pick 'his political living will' 'Squad' member Rashida Tlaib faces strong primary challenger MORE (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday that she’s not ready to endorse former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump campaign emails supporters encouraging mask-wearing: 'We have nothing to lose' Cuba spells trouble for Bass's VP hopes Democrats want Biden to debate Trump despite risks MORE's White House bid, adding that the Democrats' teams have been in touch in the past 24 hours.

Speaking in a web interview with the authors of Politico Playbook, Ocasio-Cortez said that while she still wants policy assurances from Biden, in the end it will be important for Democrats to support the party's nominee in November.

“We’ll see,” Ocasio-Cortez said when asked about endorsing Biden. “We’re having conversations with Biden’s team, and trying to figure out what some of these policy conversations will look like. I would love to see the vice president clarify and deepen his policy stances on certain issues. But aside from that, I think it’s incredibly important we support the Democratic nominee in November.”

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Ocasio-Cortez said she would like to see Biden take more progressive stances on health care, immigration and climate change.

Speaking later on ABC’s “The View,” Ocasio-Cortez said she would “absolutely” be open to having a conversation with Biden.

“Right now, the stakes are just so high when it comes to another four years of Trump," she added. "I think it’s really important that we rally around the Democratic nominee in November."

The freshman lawmaker was a surrogate for Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersCuba spells trouble for Bass's VP hopes Trump Spanish-language ad equates progressives, socialists Biden's tax plan may not add up MORE before the Vermont Independent suspended his presidential campaign, and her reluctance to endorse Biden comes two days after Sanders himself announced his support for the former vice president.

In an interview on Tuesday with The Associated Press, Sanders said it would be “irresponsible” for his supporters to refuse to back Biden, warning that it would lead to President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House sued over lack of sign language interpreters at coronavirus briefings Wife blames Trump, lack of masks for husband's coronavirus death in obit: 'May Karma find you all' Trump authorizes reduced funding for National Guard coronavirus response through 2020 MORE's reelection.

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“I believe that it’s irresponsible for anybody to say, ‘Well, I disagree with Joe Biden — I disagree with Joe Biden! — and therefore I’m not going to be involved,' ” Sanders said.

Ocasio-Cortez also created a stir on Tuesday for saying it is “legitimate to talk about” sexual assault claims a former staffer has made against Biden.

"I think it's legitimate to talk about these things," Ocasio-Cortez said at a forum hosted by The Wing. "And if we want, if we again want to have integrity, you can't say, you know — both believe women, support all of this, until it inconveniences you, until it inconveniences us."

Tara Reade, who worked in Biden’s Senate office in the early 1990s, claims that he sexually assaulted her in 1993.

Biden has not personally addressed the matter, but his campaign denies the allegation.

"Such claims should also be diligently reviewed by an independent press. What is clear about this claim: It is untrue. This absolutely did not happen," Biden's deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, has said.

Last year, Reade was one of several women to accuse Biden of inappropriate touching. Biden made a blanket apology to all of the women he had made uncomfortable. Reade did not allege at the time that Biden had sexually assaulted her.

Ocasio-Cortez did not address the matter again on Wednesday but said it is important for her to “be in solidarity with my family” and “the families that I represent" if she is to support Biden in November.

“At the end of the day, one of these two people is going to be president. It will either be Donald Trump or Joe Biden that will be elected president in November, and we have to live in a reality of those choices,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

“And I know that there may be a lot of folks that are uncomfortable with that, but as a person that represents an intensely vulnerable community, a community where this choice can very much mean the difference between life and death or being separated from their children or not, I think it’s for me personally very important to be in solidarity with my family, with the families that I represent in supporting Joe Biden November."

Updated at 12:40 p.m.