During the run-up to this year’s presidential election, Democratic nominee Joe Biden often spoke of his supposedly close friendship with former President Barack Obama.
But if his recent comments are anything to go by, Biden’s “best friend” wasn’t exactly eager to hit the campaign trail on his behalf.
“It is not my preference to be out there,” former President Obama said in an interview with CBS on Sunday, according to the Washington Examiner.
“We were in a circumstance in this election in which certain norms, certain institutional boundaries that are so extraordinarily important, had been breached,” Obama added.
“This is not normal”
According to the Examiner, Obama said though he didn’t want to return to the world of campaigning, he felt it was “important” in the era of President Donald Trump.
“It was important for me as somebody who has served in that office to simply let people know this is not normal,” he told CBS.
The former president’s lack of enthusiasm for Biden is perhaps unsurprising, given how long it took Obama to endorse his former running mate earlier in the White House race.
“An unguided missile”
It didn’t help matters that Obama was said to have previously expressed frustration with Biden behind the scenes.
In August, Politico’s Alex Thompson reported that an unnamed Democrat “who spoke to Obama” said the 44th president had warned ahead of the election, “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f*** things up.”
What’s more, according to Thompson, former Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes wrote in his memoir that Biden was regarded as “something of an unguided missile” by fellow Obama administration officials.
Meanwhile, Obama-era Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said that the former vice president “oftentimes felt that that loyalty was not being rewarded,” according to Thompson. “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,” Panetta reportedly said.
Curiously, any tensions that may exist haven’t prevented Biden from publicly expressing affection for his former boss, sometimes in awkward ways. According to Thompson, the former vice president tweeted in June 2019, “Happy [Best Friends Day] to my friend, @BarackObama.” Accompanying the message was a photo of charm bracelets spelling out each of their names.