Former US President Barack Obama has endorsed Joe Biden for the presidency.
"Choosing Joe to be my Vice President was one of the best decisions I ever made, and he became a close friend", Obama said in a statement. "And I believe Joe has all the qualities we need in a President right now".
The 44th president praised Biden as having played a leading role in managing two previous potential epidemic threats and helping to prevent them from becoming the kind of national crisis that the coronavirus (COVID-19) now presents.
"Joe helped me manage H1N1 and prevent the Ebola epidemic from becoming the type of pandemic we’re seeing now. He helped me restore America’s standing and leadership in the world on the other threats of our time, like nuclear proliferation and climate change", Obama said.
There are almost 600,000 confirmed cases of the disease in the US, while the country also has the highest death toll from COVID-19.
Since leaving office, former President Obama has kept a low profile about the political situation in the United States and refrained from commenting on the 2020 presidential elections. Obama is regarded as the most influential figure in the Democratic Party and his endorsement could play a key role for Biden in the upcoming election.
Biden, who along with Elizabeth Warren was considered the frontrunner in the presidential race, was outpaced by newcomer Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders at the beginning of the primaries. Sanders’ success in New Hampshire and Nevada threatened Biden’s campaign, but the former vice president managed to win in 10 states during the Super Tuesday votes and stormed into the lead.
The US presidential election is scheduled to take place on 3 November 2020. Biden remains the last standing presidential hopeful and is all but assured of challenging incumbent President Donald Trump for the White House.