Former Attorney General Eric Holder is “frustrated” former President Barack Obama did not emphatically encourage his presidential aspirations, those close to Holder and familiar with his thinking say.
Holder, who has warned Democrats to be “wary of attacking the Obama record,” was reportedly “frustrated” that Obama, who he considers a close friend, did not actively encourage his presidential aspirations.
Obama has remained notably silent throughout the Democrat primary – a development that should come to no surprise to those closely following the race. The former president signaled he would not endorse a primary candidate or speak out in an overly critical manner of any of the presidential hopefuls. According to Politico, Obama views his role as “providing guardrails to keep the process from getting too ugly and to unite the party when the nominee is clear.”
Obama has, largely, stuck to that strategy, refusing to endorse his former running mate Joe Biden (D) and refraining from encouraging the presidential aspirations of his “close friend” Holder, who teamed up with Obama’s Organizing For Action to create the All On The Line campaign, a redistricting project “aimed at thwarting the use of so-called gerrymandering across the country.”
While reports, as recently as early November, indicated Holder was still mulling a last-minute presidential bid, the doors are slowly closing. Politico reported Holder was reportedly “frustrated” Obama did not encourage his plans for a presidential bid, with a source close to Holder telling the outlet that “he’s [Holder’s] still pretty sensitive about it.”
The source said Biden’s bid threw a political wrench in Holder’s plans, because the two “have the same set of people,” making a run far too complicated. But now, Biden’s lackluster performances – in both the debates and on the campaign trail – are proving the initial concerns of many within the Democrat establishment, which is “really frustrating to Eric.”
“He was really frustrated about having arrived at the decision not to run. Holder couldn’t get in because Biden and Holder have the same set of people. Once Biden was getting in then Eric couldn’t get in. So that frustrated Holder,” the source said.
“It blocked him,” the source added. “And Biden has turned out the way they all feared, and that’s really frustrating to Eric.”
Nonetheless, Obama has also refrained from actively endorsing his former running mate – the man evidently responsible for quashing Holder’s 2020 bid. The former president reportedly said, prior to Biden’s entry into the race, that the former vice president would have to “earn” the nomination without his endorsement.
It remains to be seen if Michael Bloomberg’s late entry will affect Holder’s decision to stay out of the race.