Barack Obama endorsed Joe Biden, his former vice-president and the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, in a 12-minute video on Tuesday.
“Choosing Joe to be my Vice-President was one of the best decisions I ever made and he became a close friend,” Obama said in the video. “I believe Joe has all the qualities we need in a president right now.”
The endorsement marks Obama’s entry into the 2020 campaign. He remained largely above the fray during the Democratic primary, offering counsel to candidates behind the scenes, but choosing to stay quiet publicly. His thinking, New York reported in February, was that the party was headed toward a messy summer, with a potential contested convention. Obama anticipated playing a “prominent role in bringing the party back together and calming its tensions.”
But Biden clinched the primary sooner than expected, with Bernie Sanders ending his campaign last week and endorsing Biden this week. With that, the former president no longer had a reason to remain on the sidelines.
Obama has also been more active on social media in recent weeks, sharing articles and tips related to the coronavirus outbreak. He’s even hinted at criticism of President Trump, something he’s engaged in rarely, but which he will presumably ramp up as the general election begins in earnest.
“We’ve seen all too terribly the consequences of those who denied warnings of a pandemic,” he tweeted two weeks ago, linking to an article about the Trump administration rolling back fuel-economy standards. “We can’t afford any more consequences of climate denial. All of us, especially young people, have to demand better of our government at every level and vote this fall.”