Sanders Gains Endorsement of Progressive Rep. Pramila Jayapal

Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) obtained the endorsement of progressive Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), gaining support from both the Congressional Progressives Caucuses chairs and four out of five “squad” members, The Washington Post reported.

The “squad” members are a band progressive female Democratic freshmen of color in Congress: Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Pramila Jayapal, and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), who decided to support Warren. The two chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus are  Pramila Jayapal, and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.).

Jayapal told The Post she will be named as a Washington state chair as well as the national health policy chair for the Sanders campaign. The move is considered a blow for Sanders’ competitor for Democratic presidential nomination and progressive rival Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who had also been seeking Jayapal’s endorsement.

Jayapal is the House sponsor of a Medicare for All bill, a plan which is heavily advocated by Sanders and Warren. Warren and Jayapal are said to be close, according to The Wall Street Journal. Jayapal nonetheless decided to endorse Sanders.

“I’m all in for @BernieSanders for President!” Jayapal wrote. “Bernie has the bold passion, authenticity & clarity that working people across this country desperately need. We are building the progressive movement that will bring justice & opportunity & transform our country. Join us!”

Pramila Jayapal
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) has expressed her support for Bernie Sanders presidential candidacy at a campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 19, 2020. (Doug Mills-Pool/The New York Times/Getty Images)

Sanders and Warren also had a public confrontation last week after the seventh edition of the Democratic Primaries in Des Moines, Iowa on Jan. 14. The two had evaded getting into conflict with each other for months, staying clear of any political hot buttons. With the first nominating contest in Iowa drawing near on Feb. 3, however, the two progressives may come into further conflict.

The contention was about an alleged comment Sanders in 2018 during a private meeting with Warren. Sanders staunchly denied having made the comment.

Jayapal joined Sanders on his campaign stop in Des Moines on Jan. 20 to officially pronounce her support.