Politics

Former Obama Treasury Secretary Jack Lew endorses Joe Biden for president

Key Points
  • Former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew endorses former Vice President Joe Biden for president. 
  • It's another Obama administration Cabinet endorsement for Biden, who also has the support of former Secretary of State John Kerry. 
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Jack Lew endorses former Vice President Joe Biden for president

Former Vice President Joe Biden notched another endorsement Monday from an Obama administration Cabinet official.

Former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew backed Biden, one of the top contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Lew was Treasury secretary during President Barack Obama's second term.

"Candidly, he has the experience and the ability to make Donald Trump a one-term president," Lew, who is now a partner at private equity firm Lindsay Goldberg, said of Biden on CNBC's "Closing Bell."

Most members of Obama's Cabinet have so far withheld endorsements as some presidential hopefuls, particularly Biden, tie themselves closely to the former president. Earlier this month, Biden got the most high-profile endorsement from Obama's Cabinet so far in John Kerry, a former secretary of State and the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee.

Obama has not yet endorsed a primary candidate.

Jack Lew, former U.S. Treasury secretary, listens at a panel discussion during the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, April 19, 2018.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The former Treasury secretary also gives Biden another backer in the financial industry. Two of his top rivals for the nomination, Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., have made railing against Wall Street's excesses core pieces of their campaigns.

Lew cited a familiar reason for backing Biden. He thinks the former vice president has the best chance to defeat President Donald Trump — a factor Biden supporters often cite.

"In the key states that we have to win to win the election, he is the strongest candidate. And I think that's actually something the Democrats care deeply about," Lew said. Among Democratic presidential hopefuls, Biden generally performs the best against Trump in early polls of 2020 swing states such as Pennsylvania and Michigan.

The president has pinned his reelection hopes on a strong economy. He cites a 3.5% unemployment rate that sits at a 50-year low, along with consistent monthly jobs growth.

Lew downplayed Trump's role in American economic health. He said the president "inherited a pretty strong economy" from Obama.

"I actually think this economy would be stronger today if we had a president who didn't create the kinds of anxiety and uncertainty that has led businesses to sit on their hands instead of making investments," he said. Lew said Trump stoked both trade conflicts and "geopolitical risk."

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