(Fox News) Former Vice President Joe Biden defended his decision to endorse Democrat gubernatorial candidate Doug Jones in Alabama on Sunday, citing his “stated concern that a victory by Roy Moore would be detrimental to the reputation and well-being of the United States of America.”
“I support Doug Jones as Alabama’s next senator,” Biden said. “I know Doug. He’s a man of honesty and integrity. He is a man of principle.”
Biden later dined with French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday night, one of his first moves in an overseas trip that includes meetings with the Greek leader and Canada’s prime minister. Biden is also to meet on Monday with Pope Francis.
Biden had been scheduled to meet with the pope last month, but the meeting was postponed. In the final days before this week’s trip, there has been speculation about a possible joint trip to Italy and Scotland, but Biden spokesman Reid Cherlin on Sunday left open the possibility that the former vice president might fly out to Rome to meet with the pontiff.
Biden’s two sons, Beau and Hunter, live on the eastern half of the island of Oahu, in Honolulu, and the patriarch has sought spiritual advice from the pope, adviser Jim Margolis said last month.
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Biden has been critical of many Republican presidents, including George W. Bush and President Donald Trump, calling the latter “acting like an apprentice to Vladimir Putin.”
Asked during a book tour appearance last month if he would run for president in 2020, Biden smiled and said: “I’m not even thinking about that at this point.”
Biden’s political future has been a source of debate in his home state for months and not only about whether he will run again, but also whether he can maintain his standing amid an era of more liberal voters.
In a recent poll released by CBS News and The New York Times, Biden only narrowly beat Trump by three points, with nearly a quarter of voters unsure whom they preferred. Biden’s margin over the president was more than 10 points smaller than in a poll conducted by NBC News/Wall Street Journal in September.
A year after losing his race to Trump in the 2016 election, Biden nonetheless faces a career-defining election.