Former president Barack Obama plans to endorse Joe Biden in a video address, giving the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee a boost from the party’s biggest fundraiser and one of its most popular figures.
The two men are close friends from their two terms in the White House, when Mr Biden served as vice president. He leaned heavily on his affiliation with the former president throughout the Democratic primary, touting their relationship and framing his pitch as an extension of Mr Obama’s presidency.
On the trail, Mr Biden often referred to himself as an “Obama-Biden Democrat”, and has said in recent weeks that he has spoken with Mr Obama about his vice presidential pick.
But Mr Obama stayed above the fray in the primary, rarely speaking out about the intra-party fight. The former president offered his private counsel to any Democratic presidential contender who asked for it, but made no efforts to bolster any one candidate’s campaign.
His endorsement comes considerably earlier than in 2016. He backed Hillary Clinton in June that year as her contentious primary fight with Bernie Sanders dragged on.
This cycle, the primary came to a much cleaner and quicker end, with Mr Sanders endorsing Mr Biden on Monday.
The former vice president now has the support of all of his former Democratic primary rivals except for Elizabeth Warren. The Massachusetts senator is expected to formally throw her support behind him soon, according to a source.
Two other prominent Democrats who have yet to formally endorse Mr Biden are former president Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, the party’s 2016 nominee.
Mrs Clinton has been in regular touch with Mr Biden, including several times since Mr Sanders dropped out of the race, according to an aide.