Clinton made his announcement during an online chat session on the Biden campaign to discuss the coronavirus and its effects on women. Without mentioning Trump by name, Clinton assailed the Republican president’s management of the pandemic and praised Biden’s experience and temperament in comparison.
“Imagine what a difference it would make right now if we had a president who not only listened to science … but brought us together,” said Clinton, who lost the 2016 presidential race against Trump.
“Think what it would mean if we had a real president,” said Clinton, rather than a man who “plays one on television.”
Biden, as a former vice-president and six-term senator, has been preparing for this moment all his life, said Clinton.
“This is a time when we need a leader, a president like Joe Biden. “
After facing Trump, Clinton could offer Biden a unique glimpse as he prepares for the November general election. His approval is the latest example of leaders from across the party’s ideological spectrum rallying behind Biden.
In the past few weeks, Biden has won the support of former President Barack Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and key progressive people like Senators Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders from Vermont.
Hillary Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, has yet to publicly endorse Biden and kept a low profile during the Trump era.
The rapid unification around Biden stands in stark contrast to that of four years ago, when Hillary Clinton was unable to conquer a large part of the left flank of the electorate. Sanders beat her until the end of the main calendar and waged a bitter fight on the party platform before approving and campaigning for her in the fall. Hillary and Bill Clinton argued that the fight against Sanders had deeply hurt his campaign against Trump.
The Trump campaign sought to foment the same tension on Tuesday, arguing that the Democratic establishment is asserting itself again.
“There is no greater concentration of the Democratic establishment than Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton together,” said Brad Parscale, campaign manager for Trump, in a statement. “Both carry the baggage of decades in the Washington Swamp and both have plans to keep the Democratic nomination of Bernie Sanders. “
Despite their overlap for decades as heavyweights Democrats, the Clintons and Biden have never been particularly close allies.
Biden’s closest alignment to Hillary Clinton occurred during Obama’s first tenure, when Biden was vice president and Clinton secretary of state. Both had asked for the Democratic nomination in 2008 – and both were retained by their 2002 votes as senators in favor of the resolution on war powers that President George W. Bush had used to invade Iraq in 2003.
Biden suggested in his 2017 book, Promise me, dadThat Obama favored Clinton’s candidacy for the 2016 presidency rather than the possibility of Biden’s candidacy. With Obama at his side, Biden announced from the House of Rose White House in 2015 that he would not run for president the following year.
How useful is Clinton’s approval?
Clinton’s plea for Biden has potential complications. After decades in the spotlight, she is a polarizing figure who has been criticized for everything from her plea for health care reform in the 1990s to her decision to stay in marriage after her husband’s affair with a White House intern.
His presidential approval comes after a former member of the Senate recently accused Biden of sexually assaulting her in the 1990s, when he was a senator from Delaware. Trump made Bill Clinton’s alleged sexual misconduct a problem during the 2016 campaign despite his own indiscretions and allegations of sexual assault.
Biden campaigned for Hillary Clinton in the fall of 2016 and congratulated her in her 2020 run as someone who “would have made a great president.”
But he also implicitly criticized his campaign by repeatedly saying that the Democrats had failed to reach the white working-class voters who once helped anchor the Democratic coalition. As recently as a fundraiser on April 15, Biden touted his own ability to win “the kind of people” [he] grew up with “high school graduates” who believe the Democrats have abandoned them.
And he regularly cites this slice of the electorate when he claims he can win Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania – the three states where Clinton’s narrow losses gave Trump a majority in the Electoral College despite his lead in the national popular vote.