Joe Biden writes in his new book that President Barack Obama once told him that he would have appointed him president if he could and told him he would "be the best president."
The former vice president's memoir Promise Me, Dad, delves into the death of his son Beau from brain cancer in 2015 and his ultimate decision to not seek the Democratic presidential nomination.
In an interview with the New York Times, Biden said the subject of his son's illness weighed on him and the president, whom he confided in as it became clear Beau would likely not survive.
"Barack said: "Joe, if I had the power of appointment, I’d appoint you president. We agree on the issues, I know your leadership skills, and I think you’d be the best president,'" Biden said. "But he had other pressures. I felt them, too."
Ultimately, Biden decided not to run and Obama got fully behind Hillary Clinton, his former secretary of state. She ultimately lost the general election to Donald Trump.
Biden has been coy about running in 2020 (he will turn 78 in November of that year) but he suggested in his interview with the Times that he has unique abilities to bring to the table.
"We’re so dug in and divided now. Do you really think a President Biden could make a difference?" New York Times writer Philip Galanes asked.
"The obvious answer is: I don’t know," Biden said. "But I have always been good at bringing people together. Trying to understand the other person’s perspective, and trying to figure out how to get to ‘go.' That skill was always useful, but it has a higher premium now that we don’t work together as much."