Former vice president Joe Biden said in an interview with Al Sharpton on MSNBC that he is not ruling out a presidential candidacy in 2020, emphasizing that all options remain on the table. “I’m really hoping that some other folks step up. I think we have some really good people,” Biden said in the interview that was broadcast Sunday. During the interview Sharpton flat out asked the former vice president, “What would make Joe Biden really consider running in 2020 for president?” And while he has given versions of this answer before, Biden gave new insight into how he was thinking about the issue.
“I know Barack always asked me that question. And he said what’s going to make the decision,” Biden said. “I‘ve got to be able to look in the mirror, and, if I walk away, know I’m not walking away because I’m afraid or I’m worried about losing or that I just don’t want to take on the responsibility.”
Biden said that for now he is still having a difficult time recovering from the 2015 death of his son Beau from brain cancer. And how his grief progresses will be key to his decision on whether to run. “It takes time to come back,” he said. “Look, no man has a right to go say, ‘Help me become president,’ unless I can look at you and say, ‘You’ve got my whole heart, my whole soul, all of my passion, all my attention.’ And I know I got to make that decision by, you know, by the end of this year.”
Sharpton checked to make sure he understood what he was hearing: “You’re not telling me no.” And Biden confirmed that he wasn’t ruling it out. “No, no, I’m not,” he replied. “I’ve been honest about this. If the Lord Almighty, Al, came down and said, ‘The nomination is yours now; you have to accept it now,’ I would not.” Sharpton then interjected: “But you say, ‘Lord, check with me before the year’s up’.” Biden replied: “Exactly right.” The former vice president also made sure to point out that the polls showing he would win “don’t mean a thing” until the campaign actually starts.