White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed Monday that President Biden intends to run for reelection in 2024, amid reports of Democrats worrying about his plummeting approval ratings and widespread concern about his physical and mental health as the country’s oldest president.
“There were reports that President Biden was telling allies that he is going to run for reelection in 2024. Can you confirm, is [Biden] going to run in 2024? Is he telling staff that?” a reporter asked Psaki in a press gaggle on Air Force One as the White House press corp traveled with Biden to a pre-Thanksgiving military event at Fort Bragg military base in North Carolina.
“He is. That’s his intention,” Psaki responded.
The Washington Post reported over the weekend that Biden and his closest advisers were reassuring allies that he plans to seek a second term in 2024, despite many political pundits expressing doubts about the president’s viability due to plunging poll numbers and widespread belief that his health is declining.
“The only thing I’ve heard him say is he’s planning on running again. And I’m glad he is,” former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), Biden’s close confidant told Washington Post.
At a virtual fundraiser this month, Biden told a small group of donors that he plans to seek a second term, reiterating this message from his first White House news conference back in March before warning that he “never been able to plan three and a half, four years ahead, for certain.”
Biden, who recently turned 79 over the weekend, set a record as America’s oldest president ever. However, Democrats and political pundits have been speculating whether Biden would campaign for reelection three years from now, as concerns with Democrats’ gerontocracy increasingly grows and expressing doubts about the president’s viability due to his plunging poll numbers and widespread belief that his health is declining.
In the latest four months, Biden has suffered a dip in his job approval ratings in recent months, leading some Democrats to wonder, despite reassurance on whether he might be serious in seeking another four-year term. A RealClear Politics polling average finds Biden’s approval rating at 41.3 percent, while 53.4 percent disapprove, reflecting voter dismay over his job handling as president. The numerous man-made crises under Biden in less than a year in office include his handling of inflation rising at the fastest pace in more than 30 years, the highest rate of illegal immigration apprehended since the 1980s, the hastily chaotic U.S exit from Afghanistan, the resurgence of COVID, and a damaging Democratic loss in the Virginia governor’s race along with a red wave across the nation in blue-strong areas.
Democrats involved in campaigns told WaPo they could not “think of a single person they had spoken to in the last month who considers the possibility of Biden running again to be a real one.” Another Democratic presidential campaign veteran said he “gets asked every day” the question on whether Biden will run for reelection, noting that no one would ask this question about former President Donald Trump, who is poised to launch another presidential campaign to regain the White House in 2024.
Other Democrats, meanwhile, are worried if Biden were to run in 2024, he would be 81 and would be involved in a much more rigorous campaign schedule compared to the relatively calm 2020 campaign, which was primarily conducted remotely from his Delaware basement amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Biden’s health as the nation’s oldest president ever was highlighted when he temporarily transferred power to Vice President Kamala Harris for about 85 minutes as he underwent a colonoscopy. Despite White House physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor declaring Biden “fit for duty,” giving him an almost clean bill of health, he noted the frequency and severity of his “‘throat clearing’ and coughing during speaking engagements” caused by gastroesophageal reflux, and a stiffer gait when he walks. However, the report omitted any reference to Biden’s cognitive faculties, and it was not immediately clear if the president underwent a cognitive test.
Over a dozen House Republicans, led by former White House physician Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX), have called for Biden to take a cognitive test, citing his “mental decline and forgetfulness have become more apparent.” While Biden and the White House have attempted to shrug off Republican calls, Americans are letting Democrats know in polls that they have concerns about the president’s physical and mental fitness.
A new Politico/Morning Consult poll published Nov. 17 found that Americans have increasing doubts about Biden’s health and mental fitness, the oldest man to be sworn into the White House. The poll found that 48 percent said they believe the president is mentally unfit for his job, while 50 percent of respondents do not agree Biden is in “good health.” Among independent voters, the poll found 54 percent do not believe Biden is in good health.
It marks a massive 29-point shift and a stark contrast to Biden’s numbers from October 2020 when voters believed he was mentally fit by a 21-point margin.
Earlier this month, a USA Today/Suffolk University survey showed Biden’s approval rating sinks to a new low of 38%, the lowest rating of any modern president at this point in his term.
Most alarmingly for the Biden administration showed that 64 percent of respondents said Biden should not run for a second term in 2024 — including 28 percent of Democrats.