Joe Biden, the establishment candidate considered the favorite to win the Democratic nomination, finally announced his candidacy on Thursday morning. In a video shared to social media, the former vice president announced he was running with a Trump-focused message: “We are in a battle for the soul of this nation.”
Biden begins the video by discussing the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville in 2017 before transitioning to Trump’s infamous “very fine people on both sides” comment.
“At that moment, I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any I had ever seen in my lifetime,” Biden says in the video.
Unlike many of his colleagues in the Democratic Party, Biden appears to place the blame for Trumpism squarely on the man himself: “I believe history will look back on four years of this president and all he embraces as an aberrant moment in time. 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.”
There are now roughly 20 candidates competing for the Democratic nomination. As Jim Newell wrote in Slate, the size of the field indicates a belief among some Democrats that the favored establishment candidate isn’t a sure bet. In recent weeks, seven women have alleged that Biden made them feel uncomfortable with “affectionate” touching, but there is no sign that his base is wavering as a result.
Two Democrats immediately announced their support for Biden. Sen. Chris Coons, who holds Biden’s old seat representing Delaware, was the first to endorse the former vice president, emphasizing his “decency and sense of hope.” Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey followed soon after.
Former President Barack Obama, in response to the announcement, released a statement mentioning a “special bond” between him and Biden and complimenting Biden on his “knowledge, insight, and judgment.”
Trump responded to the news with an on-brand tweet:
Biden will hold a kickoff event in Philadelphia on May 18.