Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported former Vice President Joe Biden was lining up donors for a potential 2020 presidential campaign. Last week, he almost announced his campaign by accident, before quickly correcting himself.
While many signs point to the Penn Presidential Professor of Practice running, Penn won’t address the topic — yet. As Biden continues to inch closer to announcing his candidacy, his relationship with Penn remains in question.
Since leaving office in January 2017, Biden has made a number of high-profile appearances on campus over the past two years. In his most recent visit last month, he attacked President Donald Trump’s record on foreign policy, but did not address a widely rumored presidential campaign.
Biden’s most significant tie to Penn is the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, an office in Washington, D.C., which opened last year and primarily focuses on foreign policy and national security. The center hosted on-campus conversations featuring Biden and a number of world leaders, including former U.K. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and former Mexican President Felipe Calderon. In January, the New York Times reported that this was Biden's only paid salary.
When asked about the Center’s future, Biden Center Director of Communications Carlyn Reichel did not directly address the Vice President’s political future.
“The Penn Biden Center has been and will remain active in shaping critical foreign policy debates,” Reichel wrote in an email to The Daily Pennsylvanian. “Here in Washington, Vice President Biden hosted the President of Estonia for a meeting at the Penn Biden Center, and our staff met with Penn-affiliated groups in DC, including alumni from the region.”
The Biden Center declined to comment on follow-up questions regarding a presidential campaign.
University Spokesperson Stephen MacCarthy also declined to comment on the issue.
“We are not commenting on anything regarding Vice President Biden unless or until he were to make an announcement regarding his plans,” MacCarthy wrote in an email to The DP.
The Democratic presidential primary currently contains a crowded list of 15 candidates, from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Biden currently leads the field in recent polls, despite not officially declaring his candidacy.
Political science professor Marc Meredith said the University’s current silence on the issue was unsurprising given Biden's hesitation to announce a presidential bid.
“It’s hard to know what to comment on right now because he’s not an announced candidate,” Meredith said.