His voice choked with emotion, Clyburn opened his remarks with memories of his late wife.
“We often talked about the leadership of this country,” he said from a lectern festooned with Biden signs. “And there’s nobody who Emily loved as a leader in this country more than she loved Joe Biden.”
He recalled an elderly lady beckoning him over at a funeral, encouraging him to tell the community who he was supporting.
“I want the public to know that I’m voting for Joe Biden,” he said. “And South Carolina should be voting for Joe Biden.”
Biden gets the critical Clyburn endorsement days before the South Carolina primary pic.twitter.com/ugqLKiSsei
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) February 26, 2020
Biden has long hung his hat on South Carolina with its heavily black electorate, and is hoping to gain some momentum from a win in the Palmetto State. Clyburn, the House majority whip, wields enormous influence in the state.
“We know Joe,” Clyburn said. “But most importantly, Joe knows us.”
Clyburn infused his words with a note of urgency, saying that the country has reached an “inflection point.” He described being jailed during his heroic efforts on the front lines of the civil rights movement, but how he never feared for the future of the country until now.
“It is time for us to restore this country’s dignity — this country’s respect,” he intoned, calling up to the stage the former Vice President, the man he believes has the “integrity” needed to get it done.