Hillary Clinton endorses Joe Biden

At a campaign event to discuss the coronavirus and its effect on women, Clinton endorsed Biden, who was recently accused of sexually assaulting a staffer while serving in the senate.

By Associated Press

Hillary Clinton, the first woman to become a major party’s presidential nominee, endorsed Joe Biden’s White House bid on Tuesday, continuing Democrats’ efforts to coalesce around the former vice president as he takes on President Donald Trump.

Biden, as a former vice president and six-term senator, “has been preparing for this moment his entire life,” Clinton said. “This is a moment when we need a leader, a president like Joe Biden.”

Her presidential endorsement comes as a former Senate staffer recently accused Biden of sexually assaulting her in the 1990s, when he was a senator from Delaware.

Clinton’s advocacy for Biden presents complications. After decades in the spotlight, she’s a polarizing figure who has been criticized for everything from her advocacy for health care reform in the 1990s to her decision to remain in her marriage following the affair of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, with a White House intern.

Biden, for his part, has pledged to select a woman as his vice president. Meanwhile, Bill Clinton has not yet publicly endorsed Biden and has kept a lower profile during the Trump era.

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The swift unification around Biden stands in stark contrast to four years ago, when Hillary Clinton was unable to win over a significant portion of the electorate’s extreme left flank. Sanders battled her to the end of the primary calendar and waged a bitter fight over the party platform before endorsing her and campaigning for her in the fall. Hillary and Bill Clinton have argued that Sanders’ push deeply wounded her campaign against Trump.

On Tuesday, the Trump campaign commented that the Democratic establishment is again asserting itself.

“There is no greater concentration of Democrat establishment than Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton together,” Brad Parscale, Trump’s campaign manager, said in a statement. “Both of them carry the baggage of decades in the Washington swamp and both of them schemed to keep the Democrat nomination from Bernie Sanders.”

Despite overlapping for decades as Democratic heavyweights, the Clintons and Biden have never been especially close allies. Biden’s nearest alignment with Hillary Clinton came during Obama’s first term, when Biden was vice president and Clinton was secretary of state.

Biden suggested in his 2017 book, “Promise Me, Dad,” that Obama favored Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid over the possibility of Biden running. With Obama by his side, Biden announced from the White House Rose Garden in 2015 that he wouldn’t seek the presidency the following year.

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But he also implicitly criticized her campaign by saying repeatedly that Democrats did a poor job of reaching white working-class voters who once helped anchor the Democratic coalition. As recently as an April 15 fundraiser, Biden touted his own ability to win “the kind of folks I grew up with,” the “high-school educated” population who believe Democrats have abandoned them.