Former President Barack Obama endorsed Joe Biden for president in a video message Tuesday that delivered a full-throated condemnation of President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
The endorsement by the former president solidifies the Democratic Party behind Biden, who won the backing of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, his last remaining challenger, on Monday.
Obama said picking Biden as his No. 2 was among the best decisions he made, and said Biden has the experience necessary to lead the country through the coronavirus pandemic.
“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. “Joe gets stuff done.”
Obama praised Biden’s work to prevent the H1N1 flu from spreading in 2009.
Obama also extensively praised Sanders, while acknowledging the two have often been at odds, saying they share a fundamental commitment to making American society more fair for those who struggle.
“To meet the moment, the Democratic Party will have to be bold,” Obama said, adding that the pandemic has made it easier to see the vast inequality that has mired millions of workers now considered essential.
“We need to do more than just tinker around the edges,” Obama said.
Obama called for the United States to rejoin the Paris Agreement to reduce climate change — while transforming the economy into a “green-energy powerhouse.”
Obama also called for the federal government to expand health care coverage by offering a public option for insurance — stopping short of Sanders’ call to expand Medicare to all Americans.
Before his endorsement, Obama mourned those who have died from the coronavirus and praised the medical professionals working around the clock to save the lives of those suffering from the virus.
Obama also delivered a blistering condemnation of the Republican Party and its handling of the coronavirus and called for a “great awakening” to build a “more just, more democratic America.”
“The Republicans running the White House and the Senate are not interested in progress — they are interested in power,” Obama said.
Obama said the Republican Party “disregarded American principles of rule of law and voting rights … principles that are the bedrock of Democracy.”
Obama warned the November election would be difficult, but said he was hopeful the pandemic would “cut through the noise.”
“This crisis has reminded us that government matters,” Obama said. “That the rule of law matters.”
Obama promised to campaign for Biden.
“I’ll see you on the campaign trail, just as soon as I can,” Obama said.
Obama’s endorsement brought an immediate response from Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale.
“Obama has no other choice but to support him,” he said, referring to Biden. “President Trump will destroy him.”
Biden thanked Obama on Twitter for his endorsement.
“We’re going to build on the progress we made together, and there’s no one I’d rather have standing by my side,” Biden said.