Think Age. Joe Biden would be 86 years old at the end of a second term. Many are worried he just could be too old to run for a second term.
The Big Idea: President Joe Biden is the oldest president in history, and his age has been an issue ever since he began running for president. The president is facing new questions about just how old a president can be.
President Joe Biden, at 80, is the oldest president of the United States in history.
His predecessor, Donald Trump, was previously the oldest president, breaking a record set by Ronald Reagan, who was 77 years old when he left office in 1989.
And as now know he is running for a second term, Biden’s age has come up repeatedly.
After all, Joe Biden is 80 now, would be 82 on Election Day in 2024, and would be 86 at the end of a possible second term.
Biden has always maintained that he intended to run for re-election provided his health would allow it.
According to White House physician Kevin O’Connor at the end of the three-hour physical exam, per Reuters,“the president remains fit for duty, and fully executes all of his responsibilities without any exemptions or accommodations.” The doctor also stated that Biden, who battled COVID last year, does not have any symptoms of Long COVID, and his gait has not gotten worse over time.
The report added that “Several small skin growths” have been removed from the president’s face and head, while “one small lesion on the president’s chest was excised today and sent for traditional biopsy.” Biden has also lost about six pounds since his last physical in late 2021.
Despite various speculation by his opponents over time, Joe Biden has not ever been diagnosed with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or any other form of cognitive decline.
Even so, a Reuters/Ipsos poll a few months back found that about three-quarters of Americans believe Biden is too old to work in government.
In part because of that, CNN reported that Biden’s advisers see the president’s age as the top issue facing his campaign for reelection.
“It’s part of who he is – as much a part as his record of legislative accomplishments in the last two years, as much a part as his empathy and his connection with people,” a senior Biden adviser told CNN.
White House spokesman Andrew Bates also defended his boss.
“They attacked him over age before he beat them in 2020. They attacked him over age as he built the best legislative record in modern history,” Bates told CNN. “They did the same before he beat them [in] 2022. I’m not sure what they think they’re accomplishing. The trend is not good for them. Maybe they forgot?”
Earlier in the year, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley announced that she’s running for president on the Republican side, and among Haley’s lines in her opening speech was a call for mental competency tests for politicians over the age of 75.
“In the America I see, the permanent politician will finally retire,” Haley proposed on stage in South Carolina. “We’ll have term limits for Congress. And mandatory mental competency tests for politicians over 75 years old.”
The declaration was interpreted in multiple ways- after all, while Biden is 80, Haley’s opponent for the Republican nomination, Trump, is also over 75, and would be 80 at the end of a second term.
It was also seen by some as a shot at Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), a politician reportedly dealing with cognitive decline, who had announced earlier that she was not running for re-election after more than 30 years in the Senate.
Between its questionable constitutionality, its uncertain practicality, and the unlikelihood that Haley will be elected president, the mandatory cognitive tests appear unlikely to ever happen.
More likely, politics will maintain the current system, as seen this week, of the sitting president having periodical physicals, and the president’s doctor making the results public.
Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.
The photo was taken by Gage Skidmore.