Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) is coming down strongly on the side of those who think President Biden should run for a second White House term in 2024.
“He was not my first or second choice for president, but I am a convert. I never thought I would say this, but I believe he should run for another term and finish this agenda we laid out,” Jayapal told Politico in an interview published Monday.
“What the president understands is you need this progressive base — young people, folks of color — and that progressives issues are popular. Whoever is in the White House should understand that, because it is a basic tenet now of how you win elections,” she said.
Jayapal’s endorsement comes as talk of 2024 intensifies. Biden, who turned 80 on Sunday, has hinted that he’ll make an official decision on whether to run early next year, and has appeared energized by his party’s unexpected midterm wins and the Democrats’ hold of the Senate majority.
Nearly three-quarters of Democratic voters in a USA Today-Ipsos poll released Sunday said Biden could win if he runs for reelection, and half of Democrats think he deserves to win the White House again, a notable uptick from just a few months ago, before the midterms.
The Progressive Caucus, which has pushed Biden on a number of issues throughout his presidency, fared well in a number of districts during the midterms, emboldening the liberal lawmakers as the next Congress nears.
“There’s no question that this will be the most progressive Democratic caucus in decades,” Jayapal said after Election Day.
Jayapal suffered a political black eye last month when she led House progressives in a letter pressing Biden to take a more peace-focused stance in the Russia-Ukraine conflict and pair the military and economic support the United States has provided to Ukraine with a proactive diplomatic push, redoubling efforts to seek a realistic framework for a ceasefire.”
The Progressive Caucus swiftly withdrew the letter after its timing angered many in the party.
Jayapal said the letter had been drafted over the summer and “released by staff without vetting” in October, so the timing “created the unfortunate appearance” that Democrats were “somehow aligned with Republicans who seek to pull the plug on American support” for Ukraine.
Sent just over two weeks ahead of the midterm elections, the letter had followed remarks from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) that a GOP majority in the lower chamber wouldn’t give Ukraine a “blank check.”
“I look forward to next year’s Progressive Caucus election and new leadership,” one senior Democratic strategist told The Hill at the time. “Jayapal has lost the faith of her colleagues.”
Biden had praised Jayapal earlier this year in remarks in the congresswoman’s home state of Washington.
“Congresswoman Jayapal is doing an incredible job in the state … She’s been a great partner of mine and worked really closely with me,” Biden said.
Jayapal announced last week that she’ll seek another term as the Progressive Caucus Chair, following rumors that she’d go for a Democratic leadership position.
—Updated at 3:06 p.m.