Tlaib: No endorsement yet, but Sanders set to visit Detroit

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib said Wednesday she hasn't endorsed any Democratic presidential candidate after reports the Detroit Democrat is set to back U.S. Bernie Sanders after two fellow progressive "Squad" members indicated they will.

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota tweeted Tuesday her endorsement of Sanders, the self-declared democratic socialist, while the Washington Post and NBC News reported that U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York is reportedly expected to endorse Sanders during a Saturday visit to Queens, N.Y.

U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, says that she has not endorsed a candidate for president.

“I have not made any endorsement at this time," Tlaib said in a statement, but indicated Sanders will visit the 13th Congressional District on Oct. 27.

The freshman lawmaker said she would like to involve district residents in her endorsement decision.

The tour with Sanders, the Vermont senator, will focus on “economic justice issues,” “corporate tax giveaways” and “housing justice,” Tlaib said in the statement.

“I need to know that anyone I choose to endorse will fight for my residents, and I appreciate the opportunity for them to have a dialogue with Sen. Sanders about these critically important issues,” Tlaib said.

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts visited Detroit earlier this month with Tlaib to tour locations in the 48217 ZIP code, which she called “the most polluted ZIP code in Michigan." 

The state government can't confirm 48217 is Michigan's most polluted ZIP code, with a state environmental department spokesman saying a 2016 study found overall levels of measured air pollutants "were not the highest in the state." 

The Warren visit, documented in a video segment and posted to Warren’s Twitter page, was titled “The Impact of Environmental Racism."

“It's this fundamental notion of who government works for,” Warren said in the video as she and Tlaib passed the Marathon oil refinery. “Do you feel like you’ve got a government that’s working for you? Or do you just feel like you’ve got a government that’s working for those guys?”