Former Nevada Sen. Harry Reid has endorsed Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination to the presidency.
Reid’s move comes after the Democratic primary field has narrowed rapidly in the wake of the South Carolina primary. Tom Steyer, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar announced since Saturday that they are dropping out of the race, leaving Biden as the main choice of the moderate wing of the party.
“President Donald Trump has done unspeakable damage to our country, our institutions and the rule of law,” Reid said in a statement on Monday. “Democrats need a candidate who can assemble the largest, most diverse coalition possible to defeat Trump and lead our country following the trauma of Trump’s presidency. That candidate is Joe Biden.”
Reid, who served as Senate Democratic leader during much of Biden’s term as vice president, praised Biden as the “best able to defeat Donald Trump and enact the policies we all care about.”
“Joe Biden’s strength of character and deep experience stand in the starkest contrast to Trump’s amorality, corruption and utter incompetence,” he said. “Biden will be a much-needed stabilizing force following Trump’s disastrous term, offering a positive and progressive alternative to Trump’s dark vision of racism, xenophobia and policies built on cruelty and exclusion.”
Reid also said he had the “deepest respect and admiration” for Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Klobuchar, as well as former New York City Mayor Bloomberg.
“Our party was fortunate to have a tremendous field of talented candidates this year, many of whom are my close friends,” Reid said. “They’re among the brightest leaders in our party, and they’ve made invaluable contributions to this race and our country.”
Reid had previously said he would not endorse until after the Nevada Caucus, and said he picked “uncommitted” three times when he cast a ballot on the first day of Nevada’s early voting period. Some of his former staffers are on Sanders’ campaign, including former adviser Faiz Shakir, who is Sanders’ campaign manager.
Shakir tweeted on Monday that he was “disappointed” with Reid’s endorsement of Biden and recalled an instance in which Reid tossed an Obama administration proposal about the fiscal cliff into a fireplace.
Reid had expressed optimism about Biden’s candidacy even after his poor showing in the first two states.
“He’s going to do well in Nevada. He’s going to do extremely well in South Carolina. People should not be counting Joe Biden out of the race yet,” Reid said when he cast his ballot.