Former Vice President Joe Biden formally announced a White House bid on Thursday, joining a crowded field of Democratic candidates running to unseat President Donald Trump. Biden launched his 2020 campaign with a video announcement, where he pointed to Trump’s remarks in the wake of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017—that there had been fine people on “both sides” of the violent march—as the moment he believed Trump posed a “threat to this nation” unlike any he had seen in his lifetime.
“I believe history will look back on four years of this president and all he embraces as an aberrant moment in time,” Biden continued. “But if we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation, who we are—and I cannot stand by and watch that happen.”
“Everything that has made America, America is at stake—that’s why I’m announcing my candidacy for president of the United States.”
Biden’s decision to enter the race had been all but confirmed prior to Thursday’s announcement, with some speculation already having moved on to who would be tapped as his running mate. But the timing of his entrance comes at an unexpectedly fraught moment for the 76-year-old former vice president and longtime Delaware senator. According to a survey this week, Biden’s favorability among Democratic voters, who had previously placed him at the top of polls, appears to already be suffering.
The waning support is likely in part due to accusations by several women who came forward last month to accuse Biden of inappropriately touching them during various encounters that left them uncomfortable. Biden’s initial response to the allegations, which was to vehemently deny that he had ever acted inappropriately with women, drew criticism. To some progressives, the controversy highlighted their belief that Biden is not the right candidate for this political moment, particularly in the wake of the #MeToo movement, generational and gender shifts in the party, and the rise in popularity of more left-leaning policies.
As more women came forward, Biden released a more thoughtful video promising to be more respectful of people’s personal spaces.
On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that Biden is expected to follow the announcement with a campaign stop in Pittsburgh on Monday.