Although Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) remains mum on who he will endorse in next week’s South Carolina primary, he was willing to share his thoughts on Democratic presidential candidates during an interview on MSNBC’s “Meet The Press” Sunday morning.
After arguing that former Vice President Joe Biden would win if South Carolina had an election tomorrow, Clyburn was pressed by MSNBC’s Chuck Todd about Biden believing that he’ll get his endorsement.
On Tuesday night, Biden said in his post-debate remarks on MSNBC that he thinks he will “get the Clyburn endorsement” despite how the South Carolina Democrat said that he had no plans to endorse prior to the debate in the state. However, Clyburn hinted that he would consider announcing his preference before the primary if he feels compelled to do so.
When asked by Todd about whether Biden has done enough to assuage any concerns in South Carolina about his electability, Clyburn said that people told him that Biden “could have done more to engage during the debates.”
“They thought he could have done more to say why he would be deserving,” Clyburn said. “And so I think he suffered from that because he didn’t do enough, but I do believe that a lot of that had to do with the other candidates.”
After Clyburn said later in the interview that he still stands by his belief that the winner of the South Carolina primary would be the Democratic nominee, Todd pressed him on the likelihood of Sanders as the nominee, noting how his Democratic colleague in the state Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC) appears to be quite nervous about it due to Sanders’ socialist label.
Clyburn replied that while he “concurs” with Cunningham’s conclusion, he doesn’t know that “all that should apply” to Sanders given how he’s “worked very closely “with Sanders on many issues for the past 15 years, which include community health centers.
“I think that Bernie Sanders brings a lot to the table for people to consider,” Clyburn said. “So I know why [Cunningham is] nervous like that. Anybody who refers to themselves as a democratic socialist, that word has always had really dire consequences throughout South Carolina.”
Asked about whether there’s a chance that he’d endorse publicly before the primary, Clyburn said “there’s no chance that I won’t endorse” and that he will announce his endorsement Wednesday morning — three days before the primary.
“I’m not — I’ve just gotten there,” Clyburn said. “I just believe it would not be good for me to hold myself out as a person who has been in South Carolina politics for as long as I’ve been and not say to people who’ve been asking me who I’m for. So I’m going to tell everybody who I’m going to vote for. I’m just not going to do it today.”
Watch Clyburn’s remarks below:
Clyburn will announce his endorsement on Wednesday pic.twitter.com/jQp2ks5LUi
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) February 23, 2020