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

Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibSinema pushes back on criticism of her vote against minimum wage Progressives push White House to overturn wage ruling Six ways to visualize a divided America 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 BidenLawmakers, activists remember civil rights icons to mark 'Bloody Sunday' Fauci predicts high schoolers will receive coronavirus vaccinations this fall Biden nominates female generals whose promotions were reportedly delayed under Trump MORE.

In an interview with Newsweek published on Monday, the first-year lawmaker, who had previously endorsed Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersLawmakers, activists remember civil rights icons to mark 'Bloody Sunday' Progressives' majority delusions politically costly Sinema pushes back on criticism of her vote against minimum wage 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 TrumpUS, South Korea reach agreement on cost-sharing for troops Graham: Trump can make GOP bigger, stronger, or he 'could destroy it' Biden nominates female generals whose promotions were reportedly delayed under Trump 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 PressleyPressley says image of Black custodial staff cleaning up Capitol after Jan. 6 riot 'haunts' her DeJoy apologizes for mail delays while defending Postal Service changes DeJoy set for grilling by House Oversight panel MORE (D-Mass.), who previously backed Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSenate rejects Sanders minimum wage hike Philly city council calls on Biden to 'cancel all student loan debt' in first 100 days Hillicon Valley: High alert as new QAnon date approaches Thursday | Biden signals another reversal from Trump with national security guidance | Parler files a new case MORE (D-Mass.).

The remaining members of the group, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezProgressives' majority delusions politically costly Manchin: Every member of the Senate thinks minimum wage should increase Progressives won't oppose bill over limits on stimulus checks MORE (D-N.Y.) and Ilhan OmarIlhan Omar Omar: 'Disappointing' that we're 'sending money to less people than the Trump administration' House approves George Floyd Justice in Policing Act House Democrats' ambitious agenda set to run into Senate blockade MORE (D-Minn.), who also previously backed Sanders in the race, have thrown their support behind Biden.