Former president Barack Obama finally endorsed his own vice president in a message posted to Twitter Tuesday, more than a week after Joe Biden clinched the nomination and more than a day after Biden’s rival for the 2020 Democratic presidential nod, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) offered his own endorsement.
Obama, who said early on in the nomination process, that he would withhold his endorsement until Democrats had settled on a nominee, gave the thumbs up to Biden in a pre-recorded video message.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) April 14, 2020
The former president’s direct praise for Biden is somewhat limited to Biden’s character and stops short of making a strong case for his former veep in a head-to-head matchup against Trump.
“I’m so proud to endorse Joe Biden for president,” Obama says. “Choosing Joe to be my vice president was one of the best decisions I ever made and he became a close friend.”
“I believe Joe has all the qualities we need in a president right now,” the former president goes on. “He’s someone whose own life has taught him how to persevere.”
Obama then pivots to Trump and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“If there’s one thing we’ve learned as a country from moments of great crisis, it’s that the spirit of looking out for one another can’t be restricted to our homes, or our workplaces, or our neighborhoods, or our houses of worship,” he says. “It also has to be reflected in our national government.”
“The kind of leadership that’s guided by knowledge and experience, honesty and humility, empathy and grace — that kind of leadership doesn’t just belong in our state capitols and mayors offices. It belongs in the White House,” he continues, taking a jab at Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis as compared to governors and mayors, like Andrew Cuomo and Eric Garcetti, who have risen to prominence within the Democratic party as a result of their pandemic management.
Biden was certainly grateful for the kind words.
“Barack — This endorsement means the world to Jill and me,” he wrote in response. “We’re going to build on the progress we made together, and there’s no one I’d rather have standing by my side.”
Former President Obama has been quiet through much of the Democratic primary but, reports say, he’s been active in managing the Democratic party’s recent consolidation.
Although Obama was reticent to endorse Biden in the beginning — his spokesperson issued a somewhat lukewarm message of support when Biden announced his campaign in April and was said to have been meeting with and supporting Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) over his former veep — The New York Times says he stepped in to take a large role in recent weeks, convincing minor Democratic candidates to drop out of the presidential race and, more recently, convincing Bernie Sanders to drop his bid and endorse the more “moderate” Biden.
More than simply endorsing the Democratic candidate for president on Tuesday, Obama signaled that he is ready to step off the sidelines and out of the shadows to take an active role in the 2020 presidential campaign.