Former Vice-President Joe Biden has now officially entered the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination for the presidency, but without a key endorsement.
After weeks of speculation and anticipation, Biden announced his run for president in an online video. But one thing conspicuously absent from his announcement was an endorsement from the man at the top of his former ticket.
After his announcement, Biden was asked why President Obama, isn’t publicly backing him.
“I asked President Obama not to endorse,” Biden told Fox News on Thursday outside an Amtrak station in Delaware, adding that “whoever wins this nomination should win it on their own merits.”
But Obama’s people did, however, release a statement praising Biden, but it did fall short of an explicit endorsement of the former VP by his ex-boss of eight years.
“President Obama has long said that selecting Joe Biden as his running mate in 2008 was one of the best decisions he ever made,” Obama spokeswoman Katie Hill said in a statement Thursday morning. “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.”
President Obama Remaining on the Sidelines
According to Obama’s team, the 44th President intends to remain on the sidelines of the quest for the Democratic nomination – at least for the time being.
Sources close to the Obamas have told Fox News that the former president has made clear that he doesn’t plan on endorsing early in the primary process—if at all.
“President Obama is excited by the extraordinary and diverse talent exhibited in the growing lineup of Democratic primary candidates,” a source close to Obama told Fox News. “He believes that a robust primary in 2007 and 2008 not only made him a better general election candidate but a better president, too. And because of that, it’s unlikely that he will throw his support behind a specific candidate this early in the primary process – preferring instead to let the candidates make their cases directly to the voters.”
However, many, such as this reporter, see the non-endorsement as a rejection of Biden by the former president. RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted that “Obama has “chosen *not* to endorse his right-hand man.”
However, former communications director for the Democratic National Committee and former spokesperson for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign Mo Elleithee said he doesn’t view the decision as a snub, saying it is appropriate for Obama to remain on the sidelines.
“I think it’s pretty clear that President Obama wants to play a neutral role in the primary process, and there are a number of candidates in this field that he has a relationship with,” Elleithee, a Fox News contributor and executive director of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service, told Fox News. “I think he wants to focus more on helping set the table for a successful election for the party, rather than necessarily helping to pick the candidate.”
Elleithee said that Obama has praised a number of candidates in the race, but said “he hasn’t put out a statement like he did for Biden today for anyone else.”
Despite a lack of an Obama endorsement, Biden was met with support quickly after his official announcement. Sens. Bob Casey, D-Penn. and Chris Coons, D-Del., were among the first to officially get behind his campaign.
As for President Trump, he reacted to Biden’s announcement with a classic Trump tweet, “Welcome to the race Sleepy Joe. I only hope you have the intelligence, long in doubt, to wage a successful primary campaign,” Trump tweeted, repeating a nickname he’s tagged Biden with and questioning his intelligence and political aptitude.
In his tweet, Trump also tossed an insult at the rest of the 19 Democrats in the primary contest to be the party’s nominee, saying Biden would be dealing with “people who truly have some very sick & demented ideas.”