Rep. Ayanna Pressley said Monday night she will endorse “anyone but the current occupant of this White House” for president in 2020, adding that President Donald Trump is “lacking in integrity and empathy” and is “creating a tsunami of hurt.”
Pressley told reporters after an event at English High School in Jamaica Plain Monday that she has worked on legislation with Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Kamala Harris and Sen. Cory Booker, and co-sponsored Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s Economic Mobility Act.
"I have been very intentional. ... I have enjoyed the partnership and the opportunity to work with many of the Senate's 2020-ers. They're my colleagues,” she said.
Pressley did not give any further endorsements, and side-stepped questions regarding a potential bid by Rep. Joe Kennedy III for U.S. Sen. Edward Markey’s seat, or rumors that she might consider a bid for a U.S. Senate seat herself.
“I am awaiting developments like everyone else,” she said, “and just focused on governing and on being in community and being in the district.”
Pressley spoke at an event she described as an “equity agenda roundtable,” one of a series of group conversations involving constituents from District 7 and activists, city employees, staffers from Pressley’s office and nonprofit groups including City Life/Vida Urbana, Mass. Coalition for the Homeless, the Boston Tenant Coalition, and the Boston Center for Independent Living.
Every 10 minutes, representatives on issues like affordable housing, tenant’s rights, homelessness, gentrification and development moved around tables, sketching out ideas and making lists of possible solutions. Pressley quietly floated through the crowd in a bright green dress, stopping at each table and nodding along to the conversation.
After listening for a beat, Pressley chimed into a conversation on Boston’s housing crisis. “We have to invest in our crumbling infrastructure,” Pressley said. “We think of infrastructure as roads and bridges, but housing is infrastructure, too.”
At a table discussion led by Kelly Turley, associate director at the Mass. Coalition for the Homeless, a group of women discussed supportive housing and long-term care for people experiencing homelessness.
“Housing is a human right,” Boston resident Cynthia Cohen said to the small huddle. “It’s a human right. We have to change the system of how we address homelessness.”
While most of the conversations remained focused on local issues, Pressley did dip back into the national realm to criticize Trump’s Housing and Urban Development Secretary, Ben Carson.
“It is so clear to me that Secretary Carson and this administration believe that being poor is a character flaw,” Pressley said. “Someone like that should not be charged with our nation's crumbling infrastructure and our housing stock.”
Pressley explained why she went head to head with Carson while questioning him during a congressional hearing in May.
“You all know about that because that went viral,” she said to the crowd. “But what I need you to know is that when I'm developing a line of questioning, it is not with the hope or the intention of something going viral. It simply is about holding this administration accountable.”