On Wednesday night, Barack Obama sang the praises of his “brother” Joe Biden — but behind the scenes, the former president has reportedly been stabbing Biden in the back for years.
Four years after he helped torpedo Biden’s presidential ambitions, Obama was still sharing doubts about Biden’s ability to “f*** things up” until very recently, according to a new report from Breitbart.
Obama was hesitant to endorse his former vice president this year and expressed concerns in private about his candidacy, as Breitbart recalls. Citing a Politico article from January, Breitbart alleged that Obama warned a Democrat insider not to “underestimate Joe’s ability to f*** things up.”
This apparent animosity was nothing new. A lengthy piece from Politico’s Alex Thompson this month paints the picture of a former president who was continually dismissive of Biden’s presidential aspirations, going so far as to help thwart them in favor of Hillary Clinton back in 2016.
During his time in the White House, Biden was looked down upon by Obama’s top aides as a windbag who practiced an old-fashioned, personable form of politics for which Obama himself had little patience.
When it came time for Obama to throw his weight behind a successor, he chose Clinton, a fellow Ivy Leaguer, instead of his own vice president — a decision that was hurtful to Biden and his allies. In his own memoir, Biden said that Obama “was not encouraging.”
“I knew a number of the president’s former staffers, and even a few current ones, were putting a finger on the scale for Clinton,” Biden wrote, according to Breitbart.
Four years later, Biden’s allies are still smarting from Obama’s decision, and they think he hasn’t done enough to make up for it.
Bad blood abides between Biden supporters and Obama’s circle, and Biden himself insisted that Obama hadn’t “lifted a finger” to help him win the South Carolina primary, Politico reports.
“He was loyal, I think, to Obama in every way in terms of defending and standing by him, even probably when he disagreed with what Obama was doing,” Leon Panetta, Obama’s secretary of Defense, said. “To some extent, [he] oftentimes felt that that loyalty was not being rewarded.”
Even as Obama extols Biden’s virtues, there’s a perfunctory air to his endorsements. As some noticed, Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night seemed to touch on Biden only briefly — hardly a surprise, coming from the man who reportedly tried to dissuade the presumptive nominee from running again this year, as Breitbart notes.
“You don’t have to do this, Joe,” Obama reportedly told Biden, according to a New York Times article from August 2019 cited by Breitbart. “You really don’t.”