Vice President Joe Biden announced today that he will not run for president next year. Biden, 72, made the announcement during a press conference on the White House Rose Garden.
“Unfortunately, I believe we’re out of time—the time necessary to mount a winning campaign for the nomination,” he said. “While I will not be a candidate, I will not be silent.”
And he encouraged Democratic candidates not to “walk away or attempt to undo the Obama legacy.”
There’s been months of speculation and encouragement for a Biden run. But the recent death of his son, Beau, from brain cancer “closed the window” on a presidential run, said Biden.
He added that if he did seek the highest office in the land, “I’d want to be the president that ended cancer—because it is possible.”
As a senator, Biden was known for putting his foot in his mouth, but as vice president he was a staunch ally to the LGBT community—backing hate crimes legislation and workplace discrimination laws, and declaring his support for marriage equality before President Obama in 2012.
At a HRC gala earlier this month, Biden recalled his first experience with gay people as a teen—and his father’s surprising reaction.
“We’re at a light, and I looked to my right and there were two very well-dressed men, who embraced each other and kissed, and then walked in different directions—to their jobs, I assume,” he recalled.
“I turned and looked at my dad. And I’ll never forget what he said. He said, ’Joey, they’re in love with each other. It’s that simple.’ And it’s always been that simple for me.”