Look, we all know Donald Trump is one hell of a controversial figure. And yet, he is not exactly the youngest person to run for office. Could he actually be too old to go back and sit in the Oval Office again?
Current life expectancy in the United States is 77.28 years, so by no means is this a crass attempt at “ageism.” Biden’s age has been the subject of scrutiny since he ran in 2016.
Yet, many of those who question whether Biden is physically and mentally up to the task of holding what is arguably the most demanding and stressful job in the United States if not the world, should ask the same of former President Donald Trump, who will turn 82 on January 20, 2029.
Even Trump has apparently pondered whether he would have the stamina to try to win back the White House.
Elder Statesmen Donald Trump
The notion of the president as an “elder statesman” has been accepted throughout the country’s history. Yet, “elder” needs to be put in perspective.
When President Ronald Reagan ran for a second term in 1984, questions lingered about whether he was up for the job given that he was 73 at the time. He was, at the time, the oldest person to hold the office.
In fact, past presidents weren’t actually all that “elder” of statemen. The average age of all 44 previous presidents was just 55 years old, and moreover, Reagan was still only 69 when he first took office in January 1981.
Americans Working Longer in Life
It is true that as a society, the United States is seeing more individuals working until much later in life. By 2026, more than one in four men over 65 will still be working.
It should also be noted that while the Constitution of the United States doesn’t specify a maximum age for the president, it does state the minimum age – which is 35-years-old to take the office.
It is doubtful that she will run as experience – or lack thereof – could be an issue. It is more likely that she’d seek to remain in Congress and eventually seek a Congressional seat.
Yet, it should be noted that when the Constitution was drafted in 1787, U.S. life expectancy of the young nation was just 38-years-old for men. That isn’t to say that most adult men died before they hit age 40, however, as the infant/child mortality rate factored in greatly. In actuality, those who made it to 38 likely could expect to live far longer.
George Washington was 67 when he died – but that was four years older in fact than Franklyn Roosevelt, who was 63 and thus couldn’t have received social security.
Theodore Roosevelt, who was just shy of 43 years old when he became the youngest person to assume the presidency, passed away at age 60; due to the long-term effects of the jungle diseases that he contracted during his time in Cuba during the Spanish-American War and later during his river expedition in South America.
By contrast, John Adams was 90 when he passed away, while George H. W. Bush was 94, 171 days. Harry Truman lived to the age of 88, Herbert Hoover was 90, Ronald Reagan was 93, Gerald Ford was 93 – and Jimmy Carter is still alive at age 97.
Of course, longevity is just part of the equation.
Questions remain whether Biden, who has always been a gaffe machine, is up to the demands of the job. His mental capacity is routinely questioned. Likewise, Trump’s mental health is now in the spotlight given his recent comments about the Constitution.
Trump’s apparent inability to accept his loss in the 2020 election may be more than his being a sore loser. It could be a sign of mental decline that comes with age.
The Golden Years
Perhaps the question is why these senior citizens want to take on such a grueling job. Biden has said his grandchildren are his heart, so why doesn’t he want to enjoy his golden years with them?
Likewise, Trump certainly loves to golf. He owns several courses and has a plane to take him there.
Perhaps the country would be better if Biden were to pass his future days eating his beloved ice cream with his grandchildren, while Donald Trump spends his days on the golf course – provided he can stay out of prison at this point.
Expert Biography: A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes.