FACT CHECK: Fact-Checking Joe Biden’s Claim That Mark Warner “Tried To Get” The Presidential Nomination

Christine Sellers | Fact Check Reporter

In a July 5 interview with ABC News host George Stephanopoulos, President Joe Biden claimed Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner “tried to get the [presidential] nomination too.”

Verdict: Misleading

Multiple news outlets, including The New York Times, reported in 2006 that while Warner was exploring a 2008 presidential bid, he ultimately decided not to run.

Fact Check:

Biden rejected calls to “bow out” and end his reelection candidacy via a July 8 letter addressing congressional Democrats, according to The Hill. Biden said, “it is time to come together” and end talk of him suspending his campaign via the same letter, the outlet reported.

During the July 5 interview with Stephanopoulos, Biden claimed Warner ran for president. “He also tried to get the nomination too,” Biden said. “Mark’s not — Mark and I have a different perspective. I respect him,” he added. Biden made the claim after Stephanopoulos mentioned a recent report from The Washington Post that indicated Warner is allegedly assembling a group of Democratic senators to convince Biden to “stand down.”

The claim is misleading. In October 2006, NBC News reported Warner had decided not to run for president in 2008, citing family reasons as the motivating factor behind his choice. The decision followed “exploratory efforts” made by Warner, who had “toured key states in the Democratic nomination process” following the completion of his tenure as governor of Virginia, according to the outlet. Despite foregoing a presidential bid, Warner did not rule out future gubernatorial or senate campaigns at the time, NBC News reported.

Likewise, The New York Times reported in October 2006 that Warner had decided not to run for president during the 2008 campaign cycle. The outlet noted that Warner announced his decision during a news conference in Richmond, Virginia, after “a lot of reflection, prayer and soul-searching.”

“While politically this appears to be the right time for me to take the plunge, at this point I want to have a real life,” Warner said, explaining how his father’s 81st birthday and going on trips to look at colleges with his oldest daughter Madison influenced his decision, the New York Times reported.

The Washington Post also published a 2006 article on Warner’s decision not to seek the 2008 Democratic nomination, speculating that Warner was not telling the “entire truth” about his choice. Although Warner cited family reasons as impacting his decision, the outlet wondered whether a potential “scandal” or unfavorable odds of winning were what truly motivated the former Virginia Democratic Governor not to pursue a presidential bid at the time.

Warner’s aides denied any factors besides family were at play, however, according to the outlet. (RELATED: Joe Biden Falsely Claims Zero Troops Died Abroad During His Presidency) 

Furthermore, The New York Times reported the claim was misleading in a July 6 round-up article fact-checking Biden’s interview with Stephanopoulos. In the article, the outlet reiterated that while Warner explored the idea of a 2008 presidential bid, he “announced that he would not seek the [Democratic] nomination” in 2006.

Warner also declined to run for president on the Democratic ticket in 2020 after donors reportedly pushed him to enter the race, CNBC reported. Warner said he didn’t have “fire in his belly to run at this point,” also according to CNBC.

Besides The Washington Post, multiple major media outlets, including The Hill, CNN, and Axios have reported on Warner’s supposed efforts to rally Democratic senators to encourage Biden to drop out of the 2024 presidential race.

Check Your Fact has contacted spokespersons for the Biden campaign and Warner’s office for comment and will update this piece accordingly if one is received.

Christine Sellers

Fact Check Reporter