Endorse Joe? Rashida Tlaib says no.
“He hasn’t directly called me or anything, but no,” Tlaib told Newsweek magazine about a Biden backing.
“Right now I’m focused on my election, my constituents and my residents,” she added.
One reason, said Tlaib – who backed Bernie Sanders for president before he ended his primary run, and who faces a primary election of her own next Tuesday – is that she doesn’t want to get into debates with people in her district on whether Biden deserves their vote.
“Residents come up to me and say, ‘Rashida, I don’t know. I hear Joe Biden this, Joe Biden that’,” she said.
“If the ultimate goal is to get rid of Donald Trump, that doesn’t have to involve me actually endorsing Biden,” she added. “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.”
Right now, Tlaib’s residents – aka Michigan’s 13th Congressional District — are also considering whether she deserves to continue representing them in Congress.
As she seeks election to a second term, Tlaib is facing Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones in next week’s primary.
The district was held for more than a half-century by John Conyers Jr., a co-founder of the Congressional Black Caucus, who died last year. When Conyers stepped down in 2018 amid accusations of sexual harassment, Jones briefly held the seat after narrowly edging Tlaib in a special election to fill the rest of Conyers’ term.
But Tlaib won a separate election for the new two-year term, starting in 2019. That election included six candidates. Jones, who is Black, now enjoys the support of the other four candidates from the 2018 election.
Jones has argued that Tlaib has ignored her district and become too preoccupied with national issues.
“You can be vocal, but the things that were being done — like calling the president a ‘MF’ or booing Hillary — every time something like that happened, I was getting calls from people saying ‘You’re more professional than this,’” Jones told The New York Times. “I’m not interested in being a rock star. I’m just interested in bringing home the money, working for the people of the 13th district and uniting the community.”
Tlaib pushed back against such arguments – saying her opponents are highlighting just a few high-profile moments and overlooking her legislative achievements. This year she’s teamed up with fellow lawmakers to shield constituents from high water bills and water shutoffs, which many argue disproportionately hurt people of color.
Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story.