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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once intoned, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Our delicately constructed institutions are fraying. The motto on our Great Seal, e pluribus unum, “out of many, one,” seems beyond reach. Presidential leadership is woefully lacking. In short, the state of our union is uncertain. I don’t take my endorsement of a presidential candidate lightly, but the nation’s circumstances and Dr. King’s admonition were on my mind when I stood up on Feb. 26 and declared, “I know Joe, we know Joe, but more importantly, Joe knows us.” I meant what I said that day.

I bonded with Joe through extensive discussions of shared experiences regarding our states’ challenges in response to Brown v. Board of Education. Like most Americans, Joe Biden knows hardship; he knows disappointment; he knows sacrifice and moments of contentment. It’s one thing to run to lead a country at its high point, but I believe it speaks volumes to Joe’s character that he will fight to lead us through these unprecedented challenges. Joe Biden is honest, compassionate and empathetic—but most of all, he is a public servant.

Clyburn is a Democratic Congressman from South Carolina and the House majority whip

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