CNN’s Don Lemon pressed her Monday night on whether President Joe Biden has the stamina, physically and mentally, to run for reelection in 2024 and lead beyond following a report over the weekend about Democrats being worried about his leadership, age, and ability to beat former President Donald Trump in a rematch.
“Don! You’re asking me this question! Oh my gosh, he’s the president of the United States. I can’t even keep up with him,” Jean-Pierre exclaimed before listing off some recent travel.
“We just got back from New Mexico, we just got back from California,” she said. “That is not a question that we should be even asking. Just look at the work that he does. Look how he’s delivering for the American public.”
A New York Times report published Saturday examined “whispers” among Democrats who are increasingly anxious about Biden’s leadership ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, in which Republicans are widely expected to win back control of at least one chamber of Congress, and amid his low approval numbers.
Biden’s critics often raise questions about his physical energy and mental acuity, spurred by frequent gaffes that aides often then swoop in to clean up. Former Obama adviser David Axelrod argued in the report that the age factor had been a distraction from Biden’s accomplishments. “The presidency is a monstrously taxing job, and the stark reality is the president would be closer to 90 than 80 at the end of a second term, and that would be a major issue,” Axelrod said.
Jean-Pierre criticized the article as being filled with “hearsay.”
“It’s salacious. That’s not what we care about,” she added. “We care about: How are we going to deliver for the American people? How are we going to make their lives better? That is what the president talks about. That is his focus, and that’s what we’re going to continue to focus on.”
Biden, who is 79, is the oldest man ever to be president and was older when he took the oath of office than was Ronald Reagan, the second-oldest sitting president ever, when he retired at 77. Biden would be 82 for a second inauguration.
Biden said in December that he would run for reelection if he is in good health. “To be clear, as the President has said repeatedly, he plans to run in 2024,” Jean-Pierre tweeted Monday.