Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 27 May 2019

John Kerry says he has 'not written off' another presidential run

The former US secretary of state said 'I've never said never to almost anything on Earth'

Former USt secretary of state John Kerry speaking at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair on Wednesday
Former USt secretary of state John Kerry speaking at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair on Wednesday

Former US Secretary of State John Kerry has refused to rule out another run for the presidency, in comments made as former Vice President Joe Biden prepared to announce his third bid for the Democratic nomination to challenge President Donald Trump in 2020.

“We’ll see what happens but I’ve never said never to almost anything on Earth,” said Mr Kerry when asked whether he had considered a second presidential campaign. “Not at the moment, no, [but] I have looked at it, and I’ve analysed it, thought about it, and have not written anything off.”

Mr Kerry, however, who was speaking at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair on Wednesday, also expressed his support for Mr Biden, who launched his presidential bid on Thursday, joining a field of 19 Democratic candidates. This would indicate that a second presidential campaign for Mr Kerry, 75, would not happen until 2024.

“My friend Joe Biden, I hope, is going to announce and get in the race in the next days,” said Mr Kerry, who was in Abu Dhabi to promote his memoir, Every Day is Extra. “Right now, I am focussed actually on climate change.

“We think there are things the world can do to move faster and to energise itself and we’re going to make some thoughts about that known in the next weeks. That’s where my energies are going right now.”

Mr Kerry, who took over from Hillary Clinton as secretary of state under Barack Obama in 2013 until the end of his term four years later, also used his appearance in Abu Dhabi to express his frustration that the US did not play a more significant role in Syria at the outbreak of the conflict in 2011.

“If the United States had taken a stronger position, we might have been able to get to Geneva and have the leverage to negotiate a transition that could have been more peaceful and ultimately reflected a better future for Syria,” said Mr Kerry.

"I lost the fight in the administration to argue that we should have taken a stronger position, so the United States held back and in the process of holding back more, it opened the vacuum that eventually Russia filled, together with the Iranians […] It was a critical moment in terms of foreign policy."

Mr Kerry ran for president in 2004. He won the Democratic nomination but lost to the incumbent George W Bush.

Updated: April 25, 2019 03:50 PM

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