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

Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibBiden Cabinet picks largely unify Democrats — so far Democrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks GOP congresswoman-elect wants to form Republican 'Squad' called 'The Force' 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 BidenTrump rages against '60 Minutes' for interview with Krebs Cornyn spox: Neera Tanden has 'no chance' of being confirmed as Biden's OMB pick Five things to know about Georgia's Senate runoffs MORE.

In an interview with Newsweek published on Monday, the first-year lawmaker, who had previously endorsed Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden announces all-female White House communications team The 'diploma divide' in American politics Bernie Sanders should opt for a government-created vaccine from China or Russia 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 John TrumpTrump rages against '60 Minutes' for interview with Krebs Cornyn spox: Neera Tanden has 'no chance' of being confirmed as Biden's OMB pick Pa. lawmaker was informed of positive coronavirus test while meeting with Trump: report 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 PressleyGOP congresswoman-elect wants to form Republican 'Squad' called 'The Force' Pelosi faces caucus divisions in Biden era Record number of Black women elected to Congress in 2020 MORE (D-Mass.), who previously backed Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenInequality of student loan debt underscores possible Biden policy shift Thomas Piketty says pandemic is opportunity to address income inequality The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation MORE (D-Mass.).

The remaining members of the group, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezClub for Growth to launch ad blitz in Georgia to juice GOP turnout Trump will soon be out of office — but polarization isn't going anywhere Trump tweets Thanksgiving criticism of NFL QBs for kneeling MORE (D-N.Y.) and Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarMeet the three Democrats who could lead foreign affairs in the House Biden Cabinet picks largely unify Democrats — so far GOP congresswoman-elect wants to form Republican 'Squad' called 'The Force' MORE (D-Minn.), who also previously backed Sanders in the race, have thrown their support behind Biden.