- History-making openly gay candidate Pete Buttigieg is out of the race and backing Biden as Super Tuesday starts.
Presidential hopeful Joe Biden has said his former rival Pete Buttigieg reminds him of his late son Beau and will stay in the public eye.
Former Vice President Biden made the comments as Buttigieg urged his supporters to back Biden to unify the party and take on Donald Trump at the 3 November elections.
And Buttigieg wasn’t the only former Democratic presidential candidate to back Biden. Amy Klobuchar, and Beto O’Rourke handed endorsements to Joe Biden in Dallas on Monday night ahead of the Super Tuesday primary contests.
The trio of endorsements is a major boost to the Biden campaign ahead of today’s vital votes.
A massive 14 states will choose their candidates today. And there are 1,344 delegates up for grabs of the 1,990 required to win the Democratic nomination in the first round.
Biden’s ‘grace, kindness and empathy’
Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana has made history as the first openly gay politician to make a serious run at the US presidency.
But after surprising many with early successes, he has now dropped out and urged his supporters to back Biden.
He told supporters: ‘When I ran for president we made it clear the whole idea was about rallying the country together to defeat Donald Trump.
‘That was always a goal that was much bigger than me becoming president. And it is in the name of that very same goal that I am delighted to endorse and support Joe Biden.
‘We need a politics that’s about decency, a politics that brings back decency. And that is what Joe Biden has been practising his entire life.
‘I want you to know how unbelievably and unfailingly decent I’ve known Vice President Biden to be.
‘He is somebody of such extraordinary grace and kindness and empathy. From taking time to talk to somebody who struggles to speak to taking time for a family that is struggling with loss.
‘He will bring the exact kind of empathy that is so badly lacking in this White House.
‘I am looking for a leader, I am looking for a president who will draw out what is best in each of us. And we have found that leader in Vice President, soon to be President Joe Biden.’
‘Pete reminds me of my son Beau’
Thanking Buttigieg for his endorsement, Biden recognized it will be a ‘bittersweet’ moment for the 38-year-old candidate’s supporters.
He added: ‘You supported a man of enormous integrity. A fellow who has as much moral courage as he has physical courage.
‘It is clear to everyone that this is a man who is not only brilliant but decent.’
Moreover he asked Buttigieg to stay engaged as a leader of the next generation.
‘I am absolutely confident that further exposure of the nation to Pete – and all he stands for and all he will do and he can do – that there is no limitation to what this man can get done.’
And the 77-year-old then likened Buttigieg to his late son Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015.
He said: ‘I don’t think I’ve ever done this before. But he reminds me of my son Beau. And I know that won’t mean much to most people but to me it’s the highest compliment I can give any man or woman.
‘Like Beau, he has a backbone like a ramrod.’
Finally, he concluded that Buttigieg would still make a big impact.
‘Folks, I can’t tell you how much it means to me that he would step up and endorse me. Because I promise you, you are going to end up over your lifetime seeing a hell of a lot more of Pete than you are of me.’
Everything to play for on Super Tuesday
Klobuchar and O’Rourke have also set out their reasons for backing Biden.
Klobuchar called for unity saying: ‘Vote for Joe. Vote for decency, vote for dignity, vote for a heart for our country. That is what he will bring to the White House.
‘If we spend the next four months dividing our party, we will spend the next four years watching Donald Trump tear apart this country.’
And O’Rourke added: ‘We need somebody who can beat Donald Trump. And in Joe Biden, we have that man.’
Meanwhile current frontrunner Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren remain in the race. Both have achieved strong backing from LGBT+ voters.
And Biden is also up against billionaire Michael Bloomberg. The former New York mayor will face his first real test today, having entered the race too late for earlier votes. Finally Tulsi Gabbard also remains in the race, but well behind the frontrunners in the polls.