Former President Barack Obama has reportedly stabbed his former vice president, Joe Biden, in the back privately, despite endorsing him for the 2020 ticket.
According to a bombshell report published by Politico on Friday, Obama has been trash-talking Biden behind closed doors — which might explain why Obama was reluctant to endorse Biden until long after all other contenders dropped out.
“Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f— things up,” Obama reportedly told an anonymous Democrat. Obama and Biden would also like you to forget that Obama undermined Biden’s electability before the primaries. Obama prided himself on his “intimate bond” with voters during his 2008 campaign, and told one 2020 Democrat hopeful, “you know who really doesn’t have it? Joe Biden.”
Biden spent most of his early campaign playing up his “friendship” with the popular former president in front of the world, and Obama would play along — but former Obama administration officials say much of it was an act.
Interviews with dozens of senior officials of the Obama-Biden administration painted a picture of eight years during which the president and vice president enjoyed a genuinely close personal relationship, built particularly around devotion to family, while at the same time many senior aides, sometimes tacitly encouraged by the president’s behavior, dismissed Biden as eccentric and a practitioner of an old, outmoded style of politics.
“You could certainly see technocratic eye-rolling at times,” said Jen Psaki, the former White House communications director. Young White House aides frequently mocked Biden’s gaffes and lack of discipline in comparison to the almost clerical Obama. They would chortle at how Biden, like an elderly uncle at Thanksgiving, would launch into extended monologues that everyone had heard before.
Biden infamously tweeted in June of 2019 “Happy #BestFriendsDay to my friend, @BarackObama,” accompanied by a photo of a friendship bracelet with both of their names emblazoned on it. One of Obama’s top advisers, David Axelrod, replied: “This is a joke, right?” Obama himself remained silent — a decision that spoke volumes.
Obama’s support is critical to Biden’s success, as the former president is one of the most respected and well-liked figures in the Democrat party. If Barack Obama isn’t completely on board with a Biden presidency, Democrat voters are far less likely to actually turn out in November.