Elizabeth Warren endorses Joe Biden for president as Democrats unite

Senator who exited race last month says, ‘We can’t afford to let Trump continue to endanger lives and livelihoods of Americans’

Elizabeth Warren has endorsed Joe Biden, the third major endorsement for the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee in as many days as the party comes together in the run-up to the November general election.

Warren exited the race last month after a disappointing showing on Super Tuesday, where she finished third in primary voting in her home state of Massachusetts. As other former rivals quickly aligned behind Biden, most notably Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg, Warren waited, declining to immediately throw her support behind him or Bernie Sanders, an ideological ally.

Sanders ended his campaign last week and endorsed Biden on Monday. Barack Obama, who remained publicly neutral during the primary, endorsed Biden on Tuesday.

“Joe Biden has spent nearly his entire life in public service. He knows that a government run with integrity, competence, and heart will save lives and save livelihoods,” Warren wrote in a fundraising email sent to donors on Biden’s behalf.

“And we can’t afford to let Donald Trump continue to endanger the lives and livelihoods of every American,” she added, in a strong statement amid the coronavirus crisis.

Warren was the last of Biden’s major opponents to endorse him and her support helps the party present a united front against Trump as it prepares for what will probably be a historically divisive general election.

Unlike in 2016, when the Democratic primary race extended late into the summer, the process of choosing the party’s nominee was relatively short, despite a record field. Though Biden likely won’t accumulate enough delegates to officially claim the nomination until June, he started to build an insurmountable lead in early March and within weeks was the party’s presumptive standard-bearer.

The swift backing of his rivals will help ease the often-fraught process of bringing the party together after a hard-fought primary.

Her endorsement comes as speculation builds around who Biden will choose as a running mate. Biden has been unusually forthcoming in discussing his search, vowing to choose a woman and many party leaders are urging him to consider his former rivals, Warren among them.

Warren was the last major female candidate in a historic field of Democratic women and her demise led to vocal calls for Biden to choose a woman. Some of the party’s more liberal members believe choosing Warren would help Biden appeal to progressives and young voters who remain deeply skeptical of his campaign.

In her endorsement, Warren sought notes of unity, assuring liberal supporters that Biden is listening.

“When you disagree, he’ll listen – not just listen, but really hear you,” she said. “And treat you with respect, no matter where you’re coming from. And he has shown throughout this campaign that when you come with new facts or a good argument, he’s not too afraid or too proud to be persuaded.”

In a email to her supporters, Biden said bluntly: “You’re needed.”

The former vice president assured them that he, too, intended to fight for the “big, structural change” that Warren championed and insisted that he is looking forward and “not trying to take us back to a country that never existed.”

“I know, for some of you, that you might be skeptical of me or my campaign. I understand that,” he wrote. “But I intend to earn your votes. And I intend to earn your trust.”

In an early overture to progressive voters, Biden adopted Warren’s plan to overhaul the bankruptcy system, an issue over which they had clashed more than a decade ago, when she was a Harvard law professor and he was a senator from Delaware. The plan would roll back key provisions of a 2005 bankruptcy law Biden supported and Warren vocally opposed, even testifying against it before his committee.

In the email to donors, Warren recalled being sworn in to the Senate in 2013. As vice-president, he presided over the swearing in ceremony.

“Joe Biden was there the very moment I became a senator – he swore me in,” she wrote. “And when he did, he said, “You gave me hell! And you’re gonna do a great job.’”

Biden, 77, said he would create a committee to help him vet possible running mates by the end of the month. The selection process, which is typically shrouded in secrecy, will include between six and a dozen candidates, all women, and he will make his choice before the Democratic convention in Milwaukee, which was postponed to August because of the coronavirus pandemic.

If elected, Biden’s running mate would be the first female vice-president in history. Only two women have ever been chosen as running mates: the Alaska governor Sarah Palin in 2008 and the New York congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro in 1984.

Biden has spoken on several occasions about the partnership that he shared with Obama as his vice-president and has told donors and voters that he is seeking a similar dynamic with his future running mate, who he believes should complement his experience.

At a virtual fundraising event earlier this month, Biden said: “I’m going to need a woman vice-president who has capacities, has strengths where I have weaknesses.”


Lauren Gambino in Washington

The GuardianTramp

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