FREMONT (CBS News) — Congressman Ro Khanna (D-Fremont) is known for his progressive politics and he served as co-chair of Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.
However, he has now fully thrown his support behind former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, and says that a Biden presidency would be far preferable to four more years of President Trump.
“Look, I don’t sugarcoat it. I don’t think Joe Biden is going to lead us to the next progressive era. I think he’s going to be the bridge,” Khanna told CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett in an interview for ab episode of “The Takeout” podcast.
Khanna said he was “enthusiastic” about preventing Mr. Trump from winning a second term in office and added that it should be a clear choice for progressives who they should vote for in November.
Khanna also said he was satisfied with Biden’s response to allegations of sexual assault against him by a former Senate staffer, Tara Reade. He said he had come to this conclusion after listening to interviews with Reade and hearing Biden’s vehement denials. Khanna also called for full transparency in releasing all documents related to Reade’s allegation and said that the public would make the final decision based on the availability of all information.
Khanna argued that Biden’s “sense of decency” would make him a strong challenger to Mr. Trump.
“Ultimately it’s about his sense of decency, his sense of American character,” Khanna said.
Khanna also talked about Mr. Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, and argued that Mr. Trump should be more focused on expressing empathy with victims than pushing to reopen the economy.
“I think the president would do better just leveling with people,” Khanna said, encouraging Mr. Trump to be honest about a possible second wave of coronavirus cases later this year. “This is our challenge, and can we find the common American purpose?”
Khanna represents a district in California which contains several tech companies, including Apple. He said the coronavirus pandemic had made him appreciate the value of “essential” workers, such as grocery store employees and janitors.
“This is a sobering reminder of how much we’re still dependent on physical labor,” he said. Khanna is a member of the bipartisan White House legislative task force to reopen the economy, and advocated for protecting these workers and paying them more.
“If we’re so dependent on these workers, how do we make sure that they’re protected – how do we make sure they get paid more?” Khanna asked. “I think this country needs to have that conversation about the dignity of labor.”
For more of Major Garrett’s conversation with Khanna, download “The Takeout” podcast on Art19, iTunes, Google Play, Spotify and Stitcher. New episodes are available every Friday morning. Watch “The Takeout” on CBSN Friday at 2 pm, 6 pm, and 9 pm PT and Saturday at 10 am, 6 pm and 9 pm PT