Former President Barack Obama is reportedly “jealous” that that his successor Joe Biden has been portrayed in the media as heading up a more “transformative” administration than he did, according to a new book.
The pair has always been portrayed as close, but Obama delayed his 2020 endorsement of Biden, and the book says their closeness has been a “political fable.”
“The ex-president in reality had ‘complicated feelings’ about his former veep’s presidential campaign, according to forthcoming book This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future, by New York Times journalists Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns,” the Daily Mail reported.
“The two only ‘occasionally’ spoke at the beginning of Biden’s White House tenure, though Obama did apparently confide in another Democrat in Washington — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. ‘Nancy Pelosi, who spoke regularly with the former president, came away from her conversations with Obama during this period with a matter-of-fact diagnosis,’ an excerpt obtained by Fox News read,” the Mail wrote.
According to the book, Pelosi told a friend: “Obama is jealous of Biden.”
Yet throughout the pair’s two terms in office, the two were portrayed as brothers in arms. But the book said “Obama’s rare conversations with Biden were ‘hardly the stuff of the tight brotherhood both men had sold to the country as a cheery political fable.”
Biden himself said Obama is “not happy,” one adviser told the book’s authors. “‘I am confident that Barack is not happy with the coverage of this administration as more transformative than his,’ the book states Biden told them.”
Holes in their friendship have been apparent for a while. In April 2019, when Biden announced he would be running for the Democratic presidential nomination, Obama issued a statement through spokeswoman Katie Hill.
“President Obama has long said that selecting Joe Biden as his running mate in 2008 was one of the best decisions he ever made. He relied on the Vice President’s knowledge, insight, and judgment throughout both campaigns and the entire presidency. The two forged a special bond over the last 10 years and remain close today,” the statement said.
But the statement was notably lacking a formal endorsement.
Biden, though, said he had personally asked Obama not to issue an endorsement. “I asked President Obama not to endorse, and he doesn’t want to. Listen, we should — whoever wins this nomination should win it on their own merits,” he said when asked by reporters why Obama had not endorsed him.
Former President Donald Trump weighed in on the pair, according to a Daily Wire story at the time.
“He was the vice president. They seem to have gotten along. And how President Obama’s not endorsing him is rather a big secret,” Trump said. “Then he goes and lies and said, ‘I asked the president not to endorse me.’ Give me a break.”
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.