Joe Biden town hall: Hillary Clinton formally endorses Biden for president

Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has officially endorsed Joe Biden for president.

Clinton made the announcement Tuesday during a virtual town hall with the former vice president and presumptive Democratic nominee about the impact of Covid-19 on women. “I am thrilled to be part of your campaign, to not only endorse you but to help highlight a lot of these issues that are at stake in this presidential election,” she said.

Clinton is the latest Democratic leader to vocalize her support for Biden in the wake of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s decision to suspend his campaign earlier this month. It marks the first time she’s explicitly backed a candidate in the 2020 election cycle, though she previously criticized Sanders during interviews that touched on their rivalry during the 2016 Democratic primary.

Clinton’s endorsement follows those of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sanders, and former President Barack Obama, underscoring just how much the Democratic Party is coalescing behind Biden.

In her remarks, Clinton emphasized Biden’s longstanding experience in government, noting he’s the leader who’d be most effective at helping the US navigate crises like the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. “Think of what it would mean if we had a real president, not just someone who plays one on TV,” Clinton said. “Joe Biden has been preparing for this moment his entire life.”

Clinton and Biden previously competed for the presidency in 2008 and ultimately worked alongside each other during the Obama administration, when Clinton served as secretary of state. Biden has criticized Clinton’s 2016 campaign and her approach to battleground states; he’s since argued that he could better sway this constituency.

Since Sanders has suspended his candidacy, the Biden campaign has swiftly shifted its focus toward the general election, with much of the attention centered on who he’ll pick as a running mate.

As Vox’s Ella Nilsen reported, more than 10 names have been floated so far, and a wing of the party is pressing Biden to consider an African American woman for the role. Biden’s team is still in the process of weighing the strengths of different nominees, and their ability to connect with progressive voters and voters of color, according to Politico.

Biden is also fielding increasing pressure with regard to former Senate staffer Tara Reade’s allegation of sexual assault, which his campaign has denied. “Women have a right to tell their story, and reporters have an obligation to rigorously vet those claims,” Biden’s deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield previously said in a statement. “We encourage them to do so, because these accusations are false.”

The broader scrutiny on Biden and his vice presidential pick are only expected to increase as the general election grows closer. The endorsements he’s received so far, including Clinton’s, show that the Democratic Party is increasingly united in its support for him.

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