Biden Admits Concerns About His Age Are ‘Totally Legitimate’

Biden Admits Concerns About His Age Are ‘Totally Legitimate’
President Joe Biden on Sunday agreed that questions about his age are “totally legitimate” ahead of the 2024 election.

In just a few weeks, Biden—already the oldest sitting president—will turn 80 years old in November. If Biden were to win reelection in 2024, he would be 86 at the end of his second term.

“I think it’s a legitimate thing to be concerned about anyone’s age, including mine,” Biden said when asked during an MSNBC interview on Sunday. “That’s totally legitimate. But I think the best way to make the judgment is to, you know, watch me. Am I slowing up? Am I—don’t have the same pace?”

If voters concluded “I am missing a beat,” they should “support some other Democrat if they decide to run,” Biden added. “I don’t want to jinx myself. I am in good health. Everything physically about me is still functioning well, and mentally, too … But I understand people want to ask that question,” he added.

Since he took office, numerous videos showing Biden making verbal miscues or other gaffes have gone viral, with some GOP lawmakers saying it’s evidence he needs to take a cognitive test. One video showed Biden riding a bicycle near his home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, before he stopped suddenly and fell to the ground. In another mishap, he incorrectly called out Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), who died in a car crash weeks before.

President Joe Biden falls off his bicycle following a bike ride in Rehoboth Beach, Del., on June 18, 2022. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Biden has previously said that he plans on running in 2024 despite poll numbers showing his support has cratered. On Friday, the president told MSNBC that he plans on doing so but no official declaration has been made.

“I have not made that formal decision but it’s my intention to run again,” he said.

If Biden were to make a formal announcement, he would be subject to more stringent campaign finance laws around donations.

Other Details

During his 2020 campaign, Biden, who made relatively few campaign appearances and often opted to give interviews from his Delaware home office, often presented himself as a “transition candidate” who would build a bridge to younger Democrat elected officials.

Dr. Kevin O’Connor, Biden’s primary care physician, wrote in a six-page memo released by the White House after an exam last year that Biden was “healthy, vigorous,” and “fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency.”

The doctor said he investigated Biden for increased instances of “throat clearing” during public remarks and a stiffening of his gait, according to the memo.

O’Connor also claimed that Biden’s coughing was the result of gastrointestinal reflux and that the stiffened gait was the result of a new diagnosis of “mild peripheral neuropathy,” spinal arthritis, and compensation for a broken foot sustained shortly before he took office.

But Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas), a former White House physician, has frequently called for Biden to take a cognitive test and called into question the soon-to-be octogenarian’s health.

“I have long said there would come a time when I was not the only one discussing Joe Biden’s cognitive decline. That time is now,” he said in a statement in July, noting “Democrats in the West Wing and the broader Democrat Party express[ing] discontent about his age-related decline.”

He added, “This is not a political issue, it’s common sense. If Joe Biden is confident in his ability to excel at a cognitive test the way President Trump did, he can easily put his fellow Democrats’ fears to rest with this one simple test.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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