Tlaib opens up about why she hasn't endorsed Biden yet

Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibDemocratic bill would force Fed to defund fossil fuels Democrats brace for battle on Biden's .5 trillion spending plan 'Squad' members call on Biden to shut down Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota MORE (D-Mich.) is opening up about why she hasn’t yet joined most members of her party in endorsing presumptive presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Did President Biden institute a vaccine mandate for only half the nation's teachers? Democrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms MORE.

In an interview with Newsweek published on Monday, the first-year lawmaker, who had previously endorsed Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Democrats urge Biden to commute sentences of 4K people on home confinement Briahna Joy Gray: Push toward major social spending amid pandemic was 'short-lived' MORE (I-Vt.) in the 2020 presidential race, was pressed about why she hasn’t thrown her support behind the former vice president.

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“He hasn't directly called me or anything, but, no, right now I'm focused on my election, my constituents and my residents,” Tlaib told the outlet. “One thing that I know is I'm going to be really focused on turnout in the fall. When I focus on turnout, we will deliver Michigan to Joe Biden.”

“Trump only won Michigan by 10,000 votes. When I turn out my folks and my district, we'll be able to take back the state. When you focus primarily on getting people out to vote in a district like mine, [Biden] wins,” she continued. 

Pressed further in the interview about why it’s difficult for her to endorse Biden in the coming race, Tlaib said, “Because I don't want to get into a debate with my residents.”

“Residents come up to me and say, ‘Rashida, I don't know. I hear Joe Biden this, Joe Biden that.’ I say, ‘Listen, do we need another four years of Trump? No. Then what I need you to do is go out there and focus on that,’” she said.

“If the ultimate goal is to get rid of Donald TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE, that doesn't have to involve me actually endorsing Biden,” Tlaib continued. “My constituents don't need to be bogged down in, ‘Is he the best candidate?’ That's not what you have to convince my residents. They need to come out in droves and be inspired by something. And that is going to be a vote against Donald Trump.”

The comments by Tlaib come as the Michigan Democrat gears up for a competitive primary early next month. She faces a challenge from Detroit City Council President and former Rep. Brenda Jones (D-Mich.), who has endorsed Biden for president.

Tlaib is one of two members of "the squad," a quartet of progressive House lawmakers who joined Congress in 2018, who have yet to publicly back Biden in the presidential race. The other is Rep. Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyHaitians stuck in Texas extend Biden's immigration woes Advocates 'in utter disbelief' after Biden resumes Haitian repatriations Democratic bill would force Fed to defund fossil fuels MORE (D-Mass.), who previously backed Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenFederal Reserve officials' stock trading sparks ethics review Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants Warren, Daines introduce bill honoring 13 killed in Kabul attack MORE (D-Mass.).

The remaining members of the group, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOn The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Pelosi plows full speed ahead on jam-packed agenda Photos of the Week: Renewable energy, gymnast testimonies and a Met Gala dress Ocasio-Cortez, Bush push to add expanded unemployment in .5T spending plan MORE (D-N.Y.) and Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOcasio-Cortez, Bush push to add expanded unemployment in .5T spending plan Enough with the GDP — it's time to measure genuine progress Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Democrats eye potential carbon price in reconciliation bill MORE (D-Minn.), who also previously backed Sanders in the race, have thrown their support behind Biden.