Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders for president at a rally in Detroit on Sunday night. She joins Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Minnesota Rep. Ihan Omar in backing the Vermont independent.
With Tlaib’s decision, which CNN first reported earlier this month, Sanders now has the support of the first two Muslim women to serve in the US House of Representatives. Omar is scheduled to host Sanders in Minnesota next week.
“We deserve someone who writes the damn bills,” Tlaib said at a rally with Sanders at Cass Technical High School. “We deserve Bernie Sanders.”
The campaign posted a video featuring Tlaib shortly after she spoke in Detroit.
“I am endorsing Amo Bernie Sanders because he’s not gonna sell us out,” Tlaib says in the pre-recorded clip, noting her nickname for the senator. “He understands that it’s not just about policies and about words, but it’s going to be also about completely transforming the structures in place.”
When Sanders took the stage, he was quick to compliment his newest endorser.
“Congresswoman Tlaib has been a leader,” Sanders told the crowd in Detroit. “Rashida has been a leader in the fight for decent jobs, a leader in the fight for affordable housing, a leader in the fight for a clean border and she has shown that she is prepared to take on corporate greed and corruption and stand with the working class of this country.”
“I will look to her for her leadership in Congress under a Sanders’ administration,” Sanders added.
Before the event, Sanders and Tlaib announced that they would each donate $5,000 from their campaigns to Cass Tech’s marching band, which is raising money to perform at next year’s National Memorial Day parade in Washington. The band played at the rally, as did former White Stripes frontman Jack White, a Detroit native.
Sanders now has endorsements from three members of the “Squad,” a group of four young, progressive lawmakers of color who have helped push the Democratic Party left on a number of policy debates. Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley, the lone holdout, remains uncommitted in the Democratic primary.
Tlaib’s announcement came hours after the death of her predecessor, former Michigan Rep. John Conyers, who represented parts of Detroit for more than a half-century before resigning in 2017. Conyers was also the longtime sponsor of the House single-payer health care bill. Sanders authored the Senate’s “Medicare for All” bill and has made the policy a cornerstone of his presidential campaigns.
“Our Congressman forever, John Conyers, Jr. He never once wavered in fighting for jobs, justice and peace,” Tlaib tweeted shortly before joining Sanders. “We always knew where he stood on issues of equality and civil rights in the fight for the people. Thank you Congressman Conyers for fighting for us for over 50 years.”
Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and Omar have over the past couple weeks combined to make a splash for the Sanders campaign, which is vying for progressive support with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who recently visited Tlaib in Detroit. The Warren campaign produced a video about her tour of a heavily-polluted area in Tlaib’s district as part of an environmental justice policy rollout. Sanders also toured the district with Tlaib, on Sunday, before their rally together.
Warren, who won the backing of the Working Families Party in September, received the endorsement of California Rep. Katie Porter, a longtime friend and former student, this weekend. Porter flipped a traditionally Republican House district in 2018 and, like Warren, has emerged as a leading critic of Facebook.
The Democratic Socialists of America, the country’s largest socialist group, applauded Tlaib’s decision to back Sanders.
“Just as Wayne State University went tuition-free for all students from the City of Detroit, we need to make college tuition-free for everybody across the country and cancel all student debt,” Kristin Cervero, nationally elected co-chair of the Young Democratic Socialists of America, said in a statement. “As democratic socialists, Rashida Tlaib and Bernie Sanders are dedicated to making public college tuition-free for all.”