Despite reports that he’s gearing up for a reelection bid, President Joe Biden says he still has not made a decision on whether he will run in 2024.
However, in an interview with “PBS NewsHour,” Biden reiterated that he’s leaning in that direction.
“I haven't made that decision,” he said. “That's my intention, I think. But I haven't made that decision firmly yet.”
What You Need To Know
- President Joe Biden said in an interview with “PBS NewsHour,” Biden that he hasn't made a decision yet on running for re-election in 2024, but indicated that he’s leaning in that direction
- His job approval rating, according to Gallup, is 41%, And in a poll last week by The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 37% of Democrats said they wanted Biden to seek a second term
- Biden defended himself over a pair of controversies: the discovery of classified documents at his homes and former office from when he served as vice president and a U.S. senator, and the flight of a suspected Chinese spy balloon over the country last week
Biden, 80, is already the oldest sitting president in U.S. history. If reelected, he would be inaugurated at age 82 and conclude his second term at 86.
When asked if he’s concerned about his age if he runs again, Biden answered, “Watch me.”
“It goes from one extreme to the other,” he said. “Last night [at the State of the Union], I heard that people are saying, ‘Well, just watch Biden. My God, age is not an issue anymore.’
“Look, I'm a great respecter of fate,” the president added. “I would be completely, thoroughly honest with the American people if I thought there was any health problem, anything that would keep me from being able to do the job. And so, we'll see.”
Last month, CNN and CBS reported that Biden planned to launch his reelection campaign sometime after the State of the Union address.
Despite a 53-year low unemployment rate and legislative victories last year — including investments in infrastructure, health care and the environment — Biden is not exactly riding a wave of momentum. His job approval rating, according to Gallup, is 41%. And in a poll last week by The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 37% of Democrats said they wanted Biden to seek a second term, down from 52% just after November’s midterms.
Since then, Biden has had to defend himself over a pair of controversies: the discovery of classified documents at his homes and former office from when he served as vice president and a U.S. senator, and the flight of a suspected Chinese spy balloon over the country last week.
Biden was asked about both issues in the PBS interview.
The president said his advisers have directed him not to speak about the classified documents case to avoid any appearance of trying to influence the Justice Department special counsel’s investigation.
But, he said, aides accidentally scooped up the documents when moving him out of his former offices.
“They didn't do the kind of job that should have been done to go thoroughly through every single piece of literature that's there,” he said.
The president added that to, “the best of my knowledge, the kinds of things they picked up were things from 1974 and stray papers. There may be something else, I don't know.”
The White House, however, has previously said some of the documents were from Biden’s time as vice president, which ran from 2009 to 2017. Biden served in the Senate from 1973 to 2019.
Biden reiterated that he has cooperated with the investigation and invited federal agents to search his homes and offices, which they have.
The president also defended his response to the Chinese balloon, which an F-22 fighter jet shot down Saturday off the coast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Republicans have criticized Biden for not acting sooner.
Biden again said he ordered the military to shoot the balloon down when it was safe to do so.
“They said it was unsafe to do it over land,” he said. “They said they can learn a lot in the meantime by watching it go across the country. As soon as they had a chance to shoot it down over water, they did, and they recovered major pieces of it to determine if we can learn anything from what they garnered and what kind of equipment they had.
“You know, there were several of these balloons that during the last administration,” Biden continued. “They didn't even know they were there. They didn't even do anything about them.”
Biden insisted the balloon is not evidence that China perceives weakness from U.S. leadership.
“China knows exactly what the deal is with us,” he said.
The president added that he does not believe the balloon incident has further strained relations between the U.S. and China.