Throughout the 2020 election cycle, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has often touted his supposedly close friendship with former President Barack Obama, for whom he served as vice president during both terms.
According to a new report from Politico, however, that bond might not be as deep or strong as the Democratic Party would like voters to believe.
“Even when he disagreed”
Biden has frequently cited his relationship with the former president amid a campaign marked by low levels of enthusiasm among rank-and-file Democratic voters. In June 2019, Biden celebrated “Best Friends Day” with a tweet directed at Obama.
Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, however, was one of several sources quoted by Politico who painted a different picture of what went on behind the scenes of the Obama administration.
“He was loyal, I think, to Obama in every way in terms of defending and standing by him, even when he disagreed with what Obama was doing,” Panetta said of the former vice president.
In return, however, he said Biden “oftentimes” felt that his “loyalty was not being rewarded.”
Furthermore, an unnamed source indicated that Obama was actively dismissive of his vice president and described Biden as someone who “really doesn’t have it.”
“All of the qualities we need”
Another anonymous figure quoted in the piece said that Biden is “not a binder person,” referring to his alleged lack of interest in reviewing briefs and other intelligence material.
Further signaling a distance between the former president and vice president is Obama’s vocal support of his former secretary of state ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
“I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office,” Obama said of Hillary Clinton in a campaign video four years ago.
In comparison, Obama waited until there were no other viable Democratic candidates before expressing his support of the Biden campaign. He said only that “Joe has all of the qualities we need in a president right now” and “will surround himself with good people.”
Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh took the opportunity to issue a statement alleging that “Obama knew for years what the American people are coming to realize now: Joe Biden is just a shell.”