NEW YORK, AP – US President Joe Biden says he will likely seek re-election in 2024, but the 78-year-old Democrat left open the possibility of stepping aside after one term.
“My plan is to run for re-election. That’s my expectation,” Biden told reporters in a wide-ranging news conference, the first of his young presidency.
He later pushed back against a reporter’s suggestion that his 2024 plans were definite.
“I said, ‘That is my expectation,”‘ Biden said.
“I’m a great respecter of fate. I’ve never been able to plan four-and-a-half, three-and-a-half years ahead for certain.”
Traditionally, there is no question as to whether a first-term president will run for re-election. Former President Donald Trump, for example, announced his plans to seek re-election on his first day in office.
But questions about Biden’s 2024 intentions have swirled since even before his November victory – because of his age. At 78, Biden is the oldest person to assume the presidency.
In office only two months, his 2024 plans have a direct effect on his political strength. If viewed as a one-term president, Biden’s would effectively be a lame-duck president with diminished sway at home and abroad as he pursues an aggressive agenda.
Given a high-profile opportunity to clarify his status on Thursday, he sought to create the impression he was not a lame duck, but he avoided making any definite promises.
Should he run again, Biden said he “would fully expect” to choose Vice President Kamala Harris to be his running mate once more.
“She’s doing a great job. She’s a great partner,” he said.
Biden seemed exasperated when asked if he expected Trump to run on the Republican side in four years.
“I don’t even think about it. I have no idea,” Biden said, suggesting that Trump may not even be part of the Republican Party.
Privately, many Democrats believe Biden will not seek a second term. But publicly, there are few willing to question his intentions.
“He’s starting out by so far successfully improving our pandemic response both from a health perspective and economic perspective, which lays the groundwork for a successful term and re-election strategy,” said Democratic strategist Josh Schwerin.