Former President Barack Obama, who has remained neutral for the entirety of the 2020 Democratic primary, endorsed his former vice president, Joe Biden, on Tuesday.
“I’m so proud to endorse Joe Biden for president of the United States,” Obama said in a nearly 12-minute video statement. “Choosing Joe to be my vice president was one of the best decisions I ever made, and he became a close friend. And I believe Joe has all the qualities we need in a president right now.”
Obama added that he is going to hit the campaign trail for Biden “as soon as I can.”
Biden tweeted shortly after Obama’s remarks became public, saying the endorsement “means the world to Jill and me.”
“We’re going to build on the progress we made together, and there’s no one I’d rather have standing by my side,” Biden said.
Obama had stayed mum on endorsing a candidate throughout the Democratic primary, feeling that voters must be the ones to pick the nominee. But with Sen. Bernie Sanders suspending his campaign last week, the primary election has effectively come to an end and Biden is now the presumptive Democratic nominee.
There have been questions for months about when or if Obama would weigh in on the 2020 Democratic primary, especially during the early state primary and caucus contests in which Biden placed lower than anticipated.
Obama, who tied with President Donald Trump for the most admired man in America in a Gallup poll this year, is also the most popular Democrat, according to YouGov. He had large support among young voters, a group that Biden has struggled with throughout the primary cycle. Obama’s endorsement could help the former vice president grow support among that voting bloc, and also help with young-voter turnout.