When Vice President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that he would not run for president in the 2016 election, his Democratic opponents offered praise for both the vice president and his decision, while Republicans used the announcement to take digs at Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front-runner.
“.@VP is a good friend and a great man. Today and always, inspired by his optimism and commitment to change the world for the better,” Clinton said in a signed tweet.
Clinton also released an official statement on Biden’s decision, praising him for his record in public office.
“He continues to fight for higher wages, safer communities and a more peaceful world,” Clinton said. “It’s a record to be proud of, defend and build on. And I am confident that history isn’t finished with Joe Biden. As he said today, there is more work to do. And if I know Joe, he will always be on the front lines, always fighting for all of us.”
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders thanked Biden for his years of public service.
“Joe Biden, a good friend, has made the decision that he feels is best for himself, his family and the country. I thank the vice president for a lifetime of public service and for all that he has done for our nation,” he said in a statement.
Martin O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland, called Biden “a very good and decent man who has served our country nobly” in a statement.
O’Malley also tweeted his support.
“.@JoeBiden is one of the most decent, compassionate public servants our nation has produced—I respect his decision & wish him the best,” he said in a signed tweet.
Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee also wished Biden well.
“In the Senate, I traveled with him several times including to Iraq,” said Chafee, who also served as senator of Rhode Island, in a statement. “Few Americans have had his breadth of public service. I wish him well.”
Republicans responded to the decision, some applauding Biden’s decision to stay out of the race.
“I think Joe Biden made correct decision for him & his family. Personally, I would rather run against Hillary because her record is so bad,” tweeted Donald Trump, the GOP presidential front-runner.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee used Biden’s announcement as an opportunity to tweet a video about his record defeating “the Clinton machine.”
“.@HillaryClinton will likely be the D nominee. I’m the only GOP candidate who defeated the Clinton Machine. Watch,” he tweeted.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal weighed in as well, encouraging Republicans to embrace their conservative principles.
“Democrats are now left with a socialist or a candidate under FBI investigation. Let’s embrace our conservative principles, and we will win,” he tweeted.
Most Republican 2016ers who responded had similar reactions.
“With @JoeBiden out of the race, democrats are left with a choice between socialism and corruption. Cc: @HillaryClinton @SenSanders” Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said in a Tweet.
And former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore called both candidates “socialist” in a Tweet out later Wednesday afternoon.
“Biden decision means Dems are left with Clinton, Sanders. Socialists whose policies would hurt those they claim they want to help,” Gilmore tweeted.
CNN’s Jim Acosta, Sunlen Sefaty and Dan Merica contributed to this report.