President Barack Obama endorsed his former vice president, Joe Biden, Tuesday after each rival candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination dropped out.
“Choosing Joe to be my vice president was one of the best decisions I ever made, and he became a close friend. And I believe Joe has all the qualities we need in a president right now,” the 44th president said in a video announcing his endorsement on Twitter.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) April 14, 2020
Obama’s long-anticipated endorsement comes less than a week after Biden became the last man standing in the Democratic contest following Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders dropping out on Wednesday. Throughout the primary, Obama remained neutral, offering private advice to any candidate who sought it. Last fall, Politico reported that the former president privately remarked that he would speak out if it looked like Sanders was running away with the nomination but refrained from backing his own vice president. Obama, according to Politico, had raised concerns about Biden’s ability to come out on top in the crowded contest.
Obama’s final endorsement also comes a day after Sanders officially offered his support for Biden, appearing side-by-side in a live-stream video with the apparent nominee.
“We need you in the White House,” Sanders told the former vice president. “And I will do all that I can to see that that happens.”
The pair of endorsements come as welcome relief to the Biden campaign, anxious that the party would remain divided moving into the general election. In 2016, Sanders endorsed former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in July just days before the convention.
Sanders’ former campaign press secretary Briahna Joy Gray, however, cast doubts that Sanders’ supporters would coalesce behind the presumptive nominee, making clear that Biden did not have her support.
“With the utmost respect for Bernie Sanders, who is an incredible human being & genuine inspiration, I don’t endorse Joe Biden,” Gray wrote on Twitter just minutes after the two former rivals held a joint online appearance.
With the utmost respect for Bernie Sanders, who is an incredible human being & a genuine inspiration, I don't endorse Joe Biden.
I supported Bernie Sanders because he backed ideas like #MedicareForAll, cancelling ALL student debt, & a wealth tax. Biden supports none of those.
— Briahna Joy Gray (@briebriejoy) April 13, 2020