Barack Obama, who has remained largely silent on the 2020 presidential race, endorsed former vice president Joe Biden on Tuesday in a 12-minute video released on Twitter, in which he says strong, unifying leadership is being called for in challenging times.
“That kind of leadership doesn’t just belong in our state capitols and mayors’ offices,” said Obama. “It belongs in the White House. And that’s why I’m so proud to endorse Joe Biden for President of the United States.”
Picking Biden, who served eight years as vice president under Obama was “one of the best decisions I ever made,” the former president said in the video. “I believe Joe has all the qualities we need in a president right now.”
Obama’s support comes just a day after Biden’s former rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders, gave Biden his endorsement in a livestreamed announcement.
Sanders suspended his campaign last week, which makes Biden the presumptive nominee.
It was unclear for a while what Obama would do, having largely stayed on the political sidelines through most of the 2020 presidential race, although he was reported to have advised some of the Democratic candidates quietly according to NBC News.
Obama has most recently focused his public messaging on the coronavirus pandemic, and has emphasized the socioeconomic factors involved in the racial disparities in infection rates and death that have been reported over the past couple of weeks.
Meanwhile, the Trump campaign has released a statement on the expected endorsement, bashing both Obama and Biden and threatening defeat.
"Barack Obama spent much of the last five years urging Joe Biden not to run for president out of fear that he would embarrass himself,” said Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale. “Now that Biden is the only candidate left in the Democrat field, Obama has no other choice but to support him. Even Bernie Sanders beat him to it. Obama was right in the first place: Biden is a bad candidate who will embarrass himself and his party. President Trump will destroy him.”
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