"I believe Joe has all the qualities we need in a president right now," Obama said in a video explaining his endorsement

By Georgia Slater
April 14, 2020 11:56 AM
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Kevin Mazur/Getty ; Gabe Ginsberg/NBC NewsWire via Getty

Former president Barack Obama has officially endorsed his two-term vice president, Joe Biden, for president in the 2020 race, Obama announced Tuesday.

Obama, 58, shared the news that he would be backing the last candidate left in the Democratic race in a video on Twitter.

“Choosing Joe to be my vice president was one of the best decisions I ever made,” he said. “And he became a close friend. And I believe Joe has all the qualities we need in a president right now.”

“He’s someone who’s own life has taught him how to persevere, how to bounce back when you’ve been knocked down,” Obama said.

He also acknowledged the divides between Democrats over the primary as they chose between leading progressives like anti-establishment Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Biden, one of the party’s centrists and long-serving leaders.

“Of course, Democrats may not always agree on every detail of the best way to bring about each and every one of these changes, but we do agree that they’re needed. That only happens if we win this election,” Obama said. “Because one thing that everybody has learned by now: The Republicans occupying the White House and running the U.S. Senate are not interested in progress. They’re interested in power.”

Biden — who served as vice president for all eight years of Obama’s time in the White House — previously told reporters that he purposely urged the former president to hold off on declaring his approval during the Democratic primary.

“I asked President Obama not to endorse,” Biden told reporters in April 2019. “Whoever wins this nomination should win it on their own merits.”

Former President Barack Obama (left) and former Vice President Joe Biden in 2010
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

In the 2016 election, Obama waited to endorse Hillary Clinton until she had officially won the Democratic nomination, according to CNBC.

Obama’s announcement comes one day after Sen. Sanders announced he would be backing Biden, 77,  as the presumptive Democratic nominee to face President Donald Trump in November.

Sanders — who ended his 2020 presidential campaign last week after making an “honest assessment” of his chances to win the Democratic Party’s nomination — shared his formal endorsement during a livestream broadcast by Biden’s campaign.

“We need you in the White House. I will do all that I can to see that that happens, Joe,” said Sanders, 78.

In a statement, the Trump campaign sniffed at Obama’s support of Biden.

“Now that Biden is the only candidate left in the Democrat field, Obama has no other choice but to support him. … President Trump will destroy him,” said Brad Parscale, the Trump campaign manager.

The former vice president decisively won the South Carolina primary before earning endorsements from some of the Democratic Party’s top names and winning 10 of the 14 states up for grabs on “Super Tuesday.”

Since the Biden campaign’s roaring comeback after South Carolina, he’s received endorsements from former 2020 Democratic candidates like Buttigieg, Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Kamala Harris, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke and billionaire Mike Bloomberg.

“I’m here to report: We are very much alive,” Biden proclaimed following the “Super Tuesday” results. “And make no mistake about it, this campaign will send Donald Trump packing.”