Hillary Clinton to endorse Joe Biden for president in virtual town hall

BY: MOLLY NAGLE and JOHN VERHOVEK

(WASHINGTON) — Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton is expected to endorse former Vice President Joe Biden, when she appears as the “special guest” at his virtual town hall Tuesday afternoon, focused on the impacts of COVID-19 on women, according to sources familiar with the plan.

The 2016 Democratic nominee announced her appearance at the event with a tweet, offering a “hint” that she would be the guest.

“A little hint about who the surprise guest will be for @JoeBiden’s 3pm ET town hall today,” Clinton tweeted Tuesday, along with a photo of the two in a half embrace in the Oval Office.

“(She’s excited,)” Clinton added in the tweet.

For his part, the former vice president retweeted Clinton, adding his own parenthetical “(I’m with her),” a nod to the former Democratic nominee’s slogan for her 2016 presidential campaign.

Clinton’s endorsement drew a nearly immediate reaction from the campaign of her formal rival for the presidency, Donald Trump.

“There is no greater concentration of Democrat establishment than Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton together. Both of them carry the baggage of decades in the Washington swamp and both of them schemed to keep the Democrat nomination from Bernie Sanders. President Trump beat her once and now he’ll beat her chosen candidate,” Brad Parscale, the campaign manager for the president’s re-election campaign, wrote in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.

Clinton’s endorsement of Biden will be a role reversal for the two Obama administration officials, who were once rivals in the 2008 Democratic primary, and expected to face off in the 2016 presidential race, before Biden announced he would not seek the nomination following the death of his son, Beau Biden in 2015.

Biden campaigned for Clinton throughout the 2016 presidential race, but offered criticism of Clinton’s campaign following her loss for not speaking more directly to middle class concerns throughout the race.

The former secretary of state’s announcement will come amid a string of high-profile endorsements in recent weeks for Biden, as the primary winds down and the party begins to coalesce around its presumptive nominee and prepare for the general election.

Former President Barack Obama, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have all announced endorsements of Biden earlier this month, seeking to quickly unite the party after an, at-times, messy and disjointed primary field that at one point included over two dozen major candidates.

While Clinton held back on an official endorsement during the primaries, she offered praise for Biden after his string of victories on Super Tuesday that kicked off his eventual ascent to presumptive nominee.

“I think what Joe’s victories on Super Tuesday showed is that he is building the kind of coalition that I had basically,” Clinton told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in an interview in early March. “It’s a broad-based coalition. I finished, you know, most of the work I needed to do for the nomination on Super Tuesday, and then it kind of lingered on, and I think Joe is on track to doing exactly the same thing: putting together a coalition of voters who are energized.”

But Clinton’s endorsement also comes after she did not shy away from criticizing Sanders, with whom she engaged in a bitter fight over the Democratic nomination in 2016 that some point to as a contributing factor in her loss to Trump.

“I don’t think he’d be our strongest nominee, no,” Clinton told ABC News’ Linsey Davis in an interview last month.

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