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Former Vice President Joe Biden, left, campaigns for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy in 2017. Photo courtesy of Murphy for Governor.

Murphy endorses Biden

By Nikita Biryukov, May 14 2020 4:44 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential bid Thursday.

“I would just echo and say I endorse everything Ned and Gretchen just said, in particular what it would be like to have you in the White House, Mr. Vice President,” Murphy said. “We need that optimism. We need a plan. We need to make decisions based on data and science.”

Murphy and Govs. Ned Lamont, of Connecticut, and Gretchen Whitmer, of Michigan, joined Biden for a digital COVID-19 roundtable Thursday.

Most of the event’s roughly 45-minutelong runtime was spent discussing virus responses and areas of need in the three states, including disparities in outcomes among different racial groups and the states’ need for federal funds amid coronavirus-fueled fiscal tumbles.

“What keeps me up? At least right now, it’s balancing that progress and that thirst to take steps to reopen with the stark reality that this virus is still among us,” Murphy said. “We had almost 200 people go into the hospital yesterday with COVID-19. We announced 244 fatalities today, and yet, again, the curves that we look at that give us confidence that we can begin to take steps are going in the right direction.”

Whitmer and Lamont largely echoed Murphy’s concerns.

The Biden call is notable because it marks the first time — now more roughly two months into the pandemic — that Murphy and the former vice president have spoken since the crisis began.

Their mutual silence remained for more than a month after U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) ended his presidential bid in early April, though that silence doesn’t appear to have been fueled by animus.

“We know there’s not a single thing we can’t accomplish when we stand together as one nation united in a purpose, taking care of our neighbors, committed to getting the job done,” Biden said. “That’s what has seen us through every crisis in the past. I think it’s going to see us through again, in no small part because of your leadership.”

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