Former Vice President Joe Biden has not announced that he’s running for president yet. But if he is, it looks like his campaign is going to kick off with a huge self-own, courtesy of his team’s treatment of former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
After Abrams herself ruled out a 2020 run as Biden’s running mate (at least in the primaries) in an appearance on The View on Wednesday, a BuzzFeed News story on Wednesday night dug a little deeper into the rumors, and folks? It doesn’t seem like Abrams’ camp is very happy.
“What makes it particularly exploitative is that Biden couldn’t be bothered to endorse Stacey in the gubernatorial primary,” one Abrams adviser told BuzzFeed. “Now he wants her to save his ass. That’s some serious entitlement.”
Biden’s camp, for what it’s worth, continues to deny these discussions ever took place. “I publicly denied that these discussions took place the other day, as did her team,” Biden spokesperson Bill Russo told BuzzFeed News. “All I’m saying is that the rumor that it was discussed in their lunch or between our teams was false. I’ve said as much and as has her team. I won’t comment on anything hypothetical about his plans.” (An Abrams spokesperson told BuzzFeed that only Abrams and Biden “know what the discussion was.”)
How did this all start? In mid-March, Biden reportedly met with Abrams in Washington. A week later, Axios reported that Biden advisers were floating the idea of announcing a Biden-Abrams ticket right out of the gate. It’s obvious why the Biden non-campaign, which is arguably the only leakier outfit than the White House, would pick Abrams: she’s a charismatic Southerner from a state that’s turning ever more purple, coming off a nationally high-profile race in which she nearly became the first black woman elected governor in American history.
Biden, whose first term in the Senate was partially characterized by his fierce objection to desegregation busing and who later went on to be the driving legislative force behind the 1994 crime bill, is likely to face a steady stream of attacks from the plethora of other Democratic candidates over these issues, as well as his disastrous handling of the Anita Hill hearings.
It’s easy to see who would’ve gotten the better end of this deal, and it’s not the rising star who has her pick of the litter of what she wants to do next—another run for governor in 2022, a run for Senate next year, or even a run for president herself. Vice president to a man in his mid-seventies whose politics are painfully out of touch with the Democratic Party of today, who has a history of working with people like Jesse Helms and Storm Thurmond on issues surrounding desegregation? Is it any wonder Abrams is already going to great lengths to stamp out these rumors?
Anyway, because this is a Biden story, it came with more leaks:
Two sources close to Biden’s political team told BuzzFeed News that Biden also plans to meet next month with Andrew Gillum, the former mayor of Tallahassee who was Democratic nominee for Florida governor in 2018. Russo declined to comment on that, and a Gillum spokesperson could not be reached for comment.
Gillum, by the way, has already announced that his 2020 plans are to focus on voter registration efforts in Florida. As for Biden, well, all of this is just starting to look sad (emphasis mine):
Biden was spotted, at the same time Abrams was in New York, at a hotel in Times Square where employees on Wednesday said he had been a frequent guest — he was spotted working out there wearing a t-shirt with the word “running” on it.