The US president’s ex-boss has reportedly claimed that his Republican rival could be a far tougher candidate than Democrats expect
Ex-US President Barack Obama has reportedly cautioned his former running mate, Joe Biden, that Republican frontrunner Donald Trump could be a far more formidable challenger in the 2024 election than many Democrats realize.
Obama issued his warning against underestimating Trump during a private White House lunch meeting with President Biden in June, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday, citing two unidentified people familiar with the talks. Although he pledged to support Biden’s re-election bid, Obama “voiced concern about Donald Trump’s political strengths,” the newspaper said.
Among the strengths Obama noted were Trump’s intensely loyal voter support, the backing of conservative media outlets, and the nation’s political polarization. Trump, who succeeded Obama as president in 2017 and lost to Biden in 2020, is currently polling as far and away the leading contender for the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination.
Trump has accused Democrats of trying to interfere in the 2024 election by prosecuting him on bogus charges, including an indictment earlier this week for his alleged efforts to overturn Biden’s 2020 victory. However, according to polls, the former president’s lead over other top Republican candidates has only widened amid a series of indictments over the past four months.
Biden served as Obama’s vice president for eight years. Obama made it clear during the June lunch meeting that his concerns were “not about Biden’s political abilities, but rather a recognition of Trump’s iron grip on the Republican Party,” the Post said.
Obama is expected to begin raising money for Biden’s re-election campaign this fall, according to the report. He declined to endorse Biden during the 2020 race until his ex-VP had sewn up the party’s nomination. There will reportedly be no such hesitance from Obama in 2024.
“President Biden is grateful for his unwavering support, and looks forward to once again campaigning side-by-side with President Obama to win in 2024 and finish the job for the American people,” TJ Ducklo, a spokesman for the Biden campaign, said in a statement.
Obama’s private warning in 2023 stands in stark contrast to his public comments in 2016, when he scoffed at the notion that Trump could win that year’s presidential election. “I continue to believe that Mr. Trump will not be president, and the reason is because I have a lot of faith in the American people,” he told reporters in February 2016.