U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) admits to the New York Times what's been obvious for some time—he is eyeing a run for president.
In a profile that was published today in the Times, Merkley says he's "exploring the possibility" of a 2020 presidential bid. That's step up from the "keeping the options open" line he's previously used, the Times reports.
Merkley has been an active voice in national politics for the last couple of years and has long been rumored to be planning a 2020 presidential bid.
Recently, Merkley sparked national attention when he broadcasted live on Facebook his attempt to enter a holding facility for children who had been separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border as a result of the Trump Administration's "no-tolerance" policy.
The detention center in Brownsville, Tex. called law enforcement on Merkley on June 3 when he tried to enter to front door, and the video quickly went viral with 2.1 million views to date. Merkley sparked a trend, as several other Democratic members of congress have posted their own similar videos trying to gain access to detention centers.
Merkley later received permission to tour the same facility on June 17.
Merkley continues to oppose the Trump administration on their policies for immigration, calling Trump's executive order to stop the separation of families "handcuffs for all," because kids will now be in detention facilities with their parents. He called it unacceptable and un-American in a Tweet on Wednesday.
Merkley was the first US senator to endorse U.S. Sen Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the 2016 presidential election, and remained supportive of Sanders, casting his super-delegate vote for Sanders in the Democratic national convention.
When the Times asked if he would stay out of the race if Sanders or another leading progressive, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) ran, Merkley responded, "not necessarily."