Biden, 76, has repeatedly referred to himself as “Middle-Class Joe” on past election campaigns and in paid speeches, as he publicly mulls whether to run for president in 2020.
If Biden runs, his newfound wealth could give his Democratic and Republican opponents an opportunity to attack him as disingenuous, or at least less than advertised.
“While his finances might be unexceptional by the standards of well-heeled Washington politicians, Biden is unique among the top Democratic presidential hopefuls because of his avowed distance from the upper class. It’s central to his political identity,” the Politico news website wrote in an article.
“Since leaving office in 2017, the 76-year-old former vice president has watched his bank account swell as he continues to cultivate the image of a regular, Amtrak-riding guy,” the article said.
Democratic Party voters have grown increasingly concerned with vast income inequality in the US and how to address it is a central issue in the presidential nomination battle.
But when it comes to the candidates’ own wealth, Biden’s primary opponents might have a hard time attacking him on his recent money-making ventures because many of them are wealthy themselves.
US Senator Bernie Sanders, who is running for president again after losing to Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, said in December that the power and greed of billionaires in the United States is threatening the country.
Biden’s supporters argue there’s nothing hypocritical about his growing bank account since he exited the public sector more than 2 years ago.
Adam Green, a co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, said Biden’s earnings on the speaking circuit and elsewhere reinforce his negatives as a Washington insider and deal-maker who cashed out once he left office.
“Joe Biden is the opposite of an outsider and the opposite of someone who will challenge big corporate and moneyed elites on many, many fronts. And his big money and speaking deals would be just the cherry on top of that larger totality of circumstances,” said Green.
First elected to the Senate in 1973, Biden was once one of the least wealthy members of the upper chamber of Congress. Biden served as vice president from 2009 until 2017 during the administration of former US President Barack Obama.
Biden has not formally announced his candidacy for president, but accidentally suggested over the weekend in Delaware that he is running for the White House in the 2020 election.
During a speech in Delaware to members of the state Democratic Party on Saturday, Biden said he had the "most progressive record of anybody running."
Despite Biden’s growing wealth, his supporters believe he’s the Democrat best able to defeat President Donald Trump in the next elections. His supporters say that working-class white voters certainly didn’t hold Trump’s wealth against him in the 2016 election.