Warren becomes latest ex-presidential rival to back Biden

FILE- In this Feb. 7, 2020 file photo, Democratic presidential candidates former Vice President Joe Biden, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., shake hands on stage before the start of a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by ABC News, Apple News, and WMUR-TV at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. Warren has endorsed Joe Biden, becoming the last of the former vice president’s major Democratic presidential rivals to formally back him.(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

FILE- In this Feb. 7, 2020 file photo, Democratic presidential candidates former Vice President Joe Biden, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., shake hands on stage before the start of a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by ABC News, Apple News, and WMUR-TV at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. Warren has endorsed Joe Biden, becoming the last of the former vice president’s major Democratic presidential rivals to formally back him.(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Elizabeth Warren endorsed Joe Biden on Wednesday and became the latest of the former vice president’s onetime White House rivals to back him as the Democratic Party moves to project unity against President Donald Trump going into the November election.

The Massachusetts senator rose to brief front-runner status in the Democratic race last fall but suspended her campaign last month after a disappointing “Super Tuesday” that included a third-place finish her home state. Warren left the race without immediately endorsing Biden or her fellow progressive Bernie Sanders, but the dynamics changed substantially in subsequent weeks, with the race on hiatus amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Sanders dropped out last week and endorsed Biden within six days, hoping to persuade his fervent progressive supporters to warm to the more centrist Biden. Former President Barack Obama followed suit on Tuesday, and then Warren, in a move that could fuel speculation that Biden may choose her as a running mate.

Warren made no mention of that possibility in announcing her endorsement, instead saying in a statement that Biden “grew up on the ragged edge of the middle class.” That phrase that was a centerpiece of Warren’s own campaign and referred to her own upbringing in Oklahoma.

Warren also referred to the pandemic by tweeting: “In this moment of crisis, it’s more important than ever that the next president restores Americans’ faith in good, effective government — and I’ve seen Joe Biden help our nation rebuild. Today, I’m proud to endorse @JoeBiden as President of the United States.”

Some of Warren’s allies note that, in the days before her endorsement, Biden embraced some of the senator’s plans to combat the coronavirus, including calls to cancel student debt and expand Social Security benefits during the crisis. He also has adopted a plan she promoted as a candidate to overhaul the nation’s bankruptcy system.

In her statement, Warren also referenced the pair’s sometimes rocky relationship. They clashed in 2005, when Biden was a Delaware senator and Warren was a Harvard Law School professor and bankruptcy expert, during a congressional hearing over a bankruptcy bill. It was a scene that Biden, as vice president, recalled when he swore Warren into office eight years later.

“Joe Biden was there at the very moment I became a Senator,” Warren wrote Wednesday. “And when he did, he said ‘you gave me hell! And you’re gonna do a great job.’”

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal