Clinton is set to join Biden at a Tuesday town hall.
Biden became the presumptive Democratic nominee after Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) dropped out of the race on April 8, ending hopes that a progressive challenger would take on President Donald Trump in November.
When Sanders endorsed Biden a week later, he stressed the importance of defeating Trump. The senator acknowledged there were significant policy differences between his democratic socialism and Biden’s moderate views, but said their teams plan to create joint task forces to develop policy positions on key issues like the economy, climate change, criminal justice and immigration.
“I’m asking every Democrat, I’m asking every independent, I’m asking a lot of Republicans, to come together in this campaign to support your candidacy, which I endorse,” Sanders said on a livestream with his former rival.
Sanders’ endorsement this round came much earlier than his endorsement of Clinton four years ago following a competitive race for the Democratic nomination. The senator waited until June 2016 to drop out of that contest and then withheld his endorsement from Clinton for over a month ― a move his critics attacked as too late to help Democrats beat Trump in the general election and a step his supporters believed he was forced to take to avoid being ostracized at the Democratic National Convention.
Clinton has not hidden her feelings about Sanders in recent months. In her Hulu documentary and a January interview promoting it, the former secretary of state gave a candid perspective on her onetime rival.
“He was in Congress for years,” she said in the documentary. “He had one senator support him. Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done. He was a career politician. It’s all just baloney, and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it.” In her interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she said she stood by that assessment.
Though she did not apologize for her remarks, Clinton later clarified that she would “do whatever” she could to support the Democratic nominee this year, regardless of her opinions, because “the number one priority for our country and world is retiring Trump.”
Clinton’s backing of Biden will come on the heels of another long-awaited endorsement from former President Barack Obama. Obama publicly threw his support behind his close friend and former vice president on Tuesday, April 14, breaking his silence in the primary one day after Sanders made his endorsement.
“Joe has the character and the experience to guide us through one of our darkest times and heal us through a long recovery,” Obama said in a 12-minute video. “And I know he’ll surround himself with good people ― experts, scientists, military officials ― who actually know how to run the government and care about doing a good job running the government, and know how to work with our allies, and who will always put the American people’s interests above their own.”
Obama waited until Sanders dropped out of the race to endorse Biden, declining for months to insert himself into the primary. Sources close to the 44th president told CNN in early March that he would probably not offer any endorsements while Democratic candidates campaigned against each other because “weighing in now likely only divides things worse and weakens his standing for when the party will need it most.”
Biden suggested to Politico in December that he didn’t need a formal endorsement from Obama “because everyone knows I’m close with him.” But he still expressed his gratitude for the endorsement when it came, saying the former president’s support “means the world to Jill and me.”
Biden is expected to receive the nomination at this year’s Democratic convention, which has been moved to mid-August due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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