Vice President Joe Biden presents his relationship with President Barack Obama as a stellar friendship, but the reality of their interactions while serving in the White House is more complicated, according to Politico.
Obama was no stranger to publicly poking fun at Biden during their administration, and aides for both politicians say Biden was frequently unwelcome in conversations and belittled for his political style. The ultimate insult for Biden’s camp came when Obama made it clear he was pushing for Hillary Clinton –not his vice president – to be his successor in 2016.
“He was loyal, I think, to Obama in every way in terms of defending and standing by him, even probably when he disagreed with what Obama was doing,” Leon Panetta, Obama’s secretary of Defense, told Politico “To some extent, [he] oftentimes felt that that loyalty was not being rewarded.”
President Donald Trump’s campaign told the Daily Caller the revelations about Biden’s relationship with Obama are no surprise.
“Obama urged Biden not to run for president in 2016 and didn’t think he was tough enough to take on Hillary. He again tried to convince Biden not to run in 2020, and only endorsed Biden after every other candidate had dropped out,” Trump campaign Communications Director Tim Murtuagh told theDC. “Now we’re learning Obama frequently froze Joe Biden out of sensitive conversations and dismissed him as an old and out-of-touch career politician. Obama knew for years what the American people are coming to realize now: Joe Biden is just a shell.”
Memoirs from Obama-era officials aren’t kind to Biden either, painting him as a presence Obama tolerated, not a working partner. (RELATED: Race Relations Plummeted While Joe Biden Was Vice President Under Barack Obama)
“Obama would have a series of exchanges heading a conversation very clearly and crisply in Direction A. Then, at some point, Biden would jump in with, ‘Can I ask something, Mr. President?'” former FBI Director James Comey wrote in his Obama-era book.
“Obama would politely agree, but something in his expression suggested he knew full well that for the next five or 10 minutes we would all be heading in Direction Z. After listening and patiently waiting, President Obama would then bring the conversation back on course,” Comey added, according to Politico.
Fast forward to today, however, and both Biden and Obama present their relationship as that of two long-time friends. Biden went so far as to tweet a picture of a “Joe and Barack” best friends bracelet on Best Friends Day in 2019.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) June 9, 2019
When Obama finally endorsed Biden’s presidential run in April, he presented Biden as having the experience to “bounce back when you’ve been knocked down.”
“Choosing Joe to be my vice president was one of the best decisions I ever made,” he said. “And he became a close friend. And I believe Joe has all the qualities we need in a president right now.”