After news broke at the end of Tuesday night's Democratic presidential primary debate that three members of "the Squad" are officially supporting Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Ilhan Omar explained her endorsement in short video released Wednesday.
"The senator is someone who understands that our movement isn't just for few. It's for everyone... This is not just the fight for our lives. This is the fight for our democracy."
—Rep. Ilhan Omar
"Senator Bernie Sanders is the only candidate that has built a movement and continues to build a movement that transcends gender, ethnicity, religion," said the Minnesota Democrat, who is serving her first term in Congress.
"And we know that in order to take on Trump, we're going to need a unifier, someone who understands what the fight looks like and someone who is ready to defeat him," Omar continued. "I'm one of the people that was inspired by the movement that the senator has built."
"There was an America that I dreamed about," she said. "There is an America that most people believe in. It is an ideal. It's not a reality yet."
.@BernieSanders isn’t fighting to win just one presidential election -- he’s fighting for the soul of our democracy.
Here’s more on why I’m so proud to give Bernie my endorsement for president of the United States: pic.twitter.com/1NLMPnzS1x
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) October 16, 2019
Omar and Sanders (I-Vt.) have worked together on federal legislation, including a bill unveiled Tuesday that would provide all children access to free meals at U.S. public schools and a proposal introduced in June that aims to ensure College for All and eliminate all student debt.
"The senator is the only candidate that is proposing a complete cancellation of student debt," Omar said in the video. "The senator is the only candidate that is proposing to provide universal school meals. The senator is the only candidate that wants to make sure that we end our endless wars and will fight for human rights and hold everyone accountable regardless of whether they are an ally or a foe."
"The senator is someone who understands that our movement isn't just for few. It's for everyone," she added. "This is not just the fight for our lives. This is the fight for our democracy. This is the fight for a better future, one that we can all be proud of."
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Omar, a Somali refugee and Muslim woman who wears a hijab, has endured racist and Islamophobic smears and threats of violence while in office. The congresswoman's critiques of the Israeli political lobby and government have elicited claims of anti-Semitism that have been refuted by progressive Jewish groups. Emma Vigeland, a correspondent and producer for The Young Turks, referenced that history while tweeting Wednesday that "Omar is endorsing the only Jewish candidate in the race."
Ilhan Omar is endorsing the only Jewish candidate in the race.
Which means it's a tough day for the "Omar is an anti-Semite" right-wingers who cloak their rabid anti-Muslim xenophobia and loony toons Bible thumping in faux concern about anti-Jewish hatred. Real tough.
— Emma Vigeland (@EmmaVigeland) October 16, 2019
Along with Omar, fellow Squad members Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) reportedly will endorse Sanders for president—which Omar addressed in a tweet Wednesday.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) October 16, 2019
Washington Post reporter Jeff Stein noted Wednesday that the Squad endorsements follow Sanders' effort over the weekend to distinguish himself from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), whom some political observers believed could receive their support in the primary.
Squad endorsements follow Sanders trying to create daylight w/ Warren on some econ policy:
- Student debt (full vs partial forgiveness)
- Housing (national rent control)
- Taxes (BS taxes billionaires @ ~97%, EW @ ~62%)
- Climate (BS GND has bigger price tag, intl climate fund)
— Jeff Stein (@JStein_WaPo) October 16, 2019
Though Tlaib and Ocasio-Cortez have not yet spoken publicly about their support for Sanders, the New York Democrat is expected to formally announce her endorsement at a rally in New York City on Saturday.