2020 Election

Obama Keeps ‘Squad’ Off List of Endorsements

Former US president Barack Obama / Getty Images

Former president Barack Obama announced on Monday his first list of endorsements for the November election, but excluded the four members of the far-left group of House Democrats known as "the Squad."

Obama endorsed six Democratic candidates for the House in New York, but Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the progressive "Squad" member representing the Bronx, did not make the list. He also failed to include Rep. Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), who faces a contentious primary battle in her Detroit district. Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) were also excluded from the list.

Since they took office in 2018, the leftist group has at times been a hassle for more moderate Democrats. After Omar was accused of anti-Semitism for alleging that her colleagues had loyalty to Israel, her allies prevented House Democrats from backing a resolution condemning anti-Semitism in favor of a broader condemnation of bigotry. Tlaib recently refused to endorse Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, instead saying her focus is on turning out Democratic votes in her district.

After all four women voted against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D., Calif.) border-funding bill last year, the speaker dismissed the group and said they had "no following."

A number of progressive candidates did make Obama's list even though "the Squad" was left out. He endorsed Jamaal Bowman, who ousted the incumbent and establishment-backed Rep. Eliot Engel (N.Y.) in the Democratic primary for New York’s 16th Congressional District in July.