It was over a year ago, during Stephen Colbert’s first week as host of the Late Show, that Vice President Joe Biden openly admitted that he did not feel he had the emotional energy to run for president following the untimely death of his son Beau.
“Nobody has a right in my view to seek that office unless they are willing to give it 110 percent of who they are,” Biden said that night. At that point, he never could have imagined America would be getting 110 percent of Donald Trump.
On Tuesday, Biden returned to the Late Show amid renewed speculation that he might decide to run against Trump in 2020. “I am going to run in 2020,” Biden this week told reporters, who weren’t quite sure if he was joking. “For president,” he clarified, before adding, “What the hell, man.”
“The last time you were here, you hadn’t made up your mind yet whether you were going to run for president,” Colbert told Biden during their interview, noting that the vice president has said he’s “regretted” every day his decision not to run. “Was there a particular day or days? Because for me, it was Nov. 9, about three weeks ago.”
“I know I made the right decision for my family,” Biden said. What he regrets, he added, is “the circumstance that led me not to be able to run.”
“Do I think I was best prepared at this moment to lead the country?” Biden asked himself. “I did,” he answered, saying he’s “disappointed” that he won’t get that chance. “But I don’t regret the actual decision. The decision was the right decision for me to have made,” he said. “And by the way, I learned, you want to become the most popular guy in America? Announce you’re not running.” Biden then added, “Who knows what might have happened had I run?”
“Well, we might find out,” Colbert said, pointing to Biden’s comments on Capitol Hill this week about 2020. Biden laughed at his own quote and joked, “I did that for one reason, so I could announce now I’m not running and be popular again.”
“You didn’t mean that? What the hell, Vice President?” Colbert asked.
As a great believer in “fate,” Biden explained, “I don’t plan on running again, but to say you know what’s going to happen in four years I just think is not rational.” Asked if that means he’s keeping the door open, the VP said, “I can’t see the circumstance in which I’d run,” but that being said, he added that he’s learned to “never say never.”
“Hell, Donald Trump’s going to be 74. I’ll be 77, in better shape,” Biden said. “I mean, what the hell?”