In a recent interview, Vice President Kamala Harris dismissed concerns about President Joe Biden’s age, but still discussed whether she is ready to take on the presidency should something happen to Biden.
He already has the title of the oldest serving U.S. president. If he wins reelection, Biden will be 86 by the time he finishes his second term, making Harris’ chances of becoming president higher than other vice presidents.
But in an interview with The Associated Press, Harris said that she sees him every day and spends a substantial time in the Oval Office with him.
She has witnessed “his ability to understand issues and weave through complex issues in a way that no one else can to make smart and important decisions on behalf of the American people have played out,” she said.
“And so I will say to you that I think the American people ultimately want to know that their president delivers. And Joe Biden delivers,” she added.
An AP-NORC poll from last month found that roughly 77% of Americans think Biden is too old to be an effective president in a second term. This includes 69% of Democrats and 89% of Republicans.
Republicans warn of the possibility of a Kamala Harris presidency
Should Biden step down, hypothetically speaking, Harris told the AP she is ready to take on the role.
“Joe Biden is going to be fine, so that is not going to come to fruition,” she said, adding that the oath taken by every vice president gives them the responsibility to take over the job if needed. “I’m no different,” she said.
Republicans have often centered their attacks on Harris, and the potential of her becoming president.
Vice presidents typically aren’t popular with the other party to begin with.
“Dick Cheney wasn’t popular with Democrats. Al Gore wasn’t popular with Republicans. So it’s not like anything new that she’s unpopular with the opposing party,” Mike DuHaime, a top Republican strategist advising former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s presidential campaign, told CNN.
“What’s new is that people think there’s a more legitimate chance of her actually ascending to the presidency than previous VPs and anyone that I can remember.”
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who is also running for president in 2024, has argued that anyone is better than “President Kamala Harris.”
When asked whether she meant Biden, she said, “Well, I think it’s President Harris. … A vote for President Biden is a vote for Kamala Harris.”
Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, also campaigning for the presidency, said that Biden winning reelection would leave Kamala in charge.
“We’re running to win and to deliver, and that’s really the only reason to run, and I feel compelled to do it, because I think that if we, if we muff this one and Biden gets in again — heck you may end up with Kamala as president,” DeSantis said.
Harris’ role in reelection campaign for 2024
Harris is currently representing the country at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Indonesia.
In August, Biden's reelection campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez wrote in a memo that Harris is “uniquely popular among several groups of voters that are key to our victory in 2024.”
Although she is bracing to play a bigger role in the Biden-Harris reelection campaign, becoming the voice on issues like abortion voting rights, gun reform and climate change, she struggles with low approval ratings as vice president.
As of last month, only 40% of voters have a positive view of her, compared to 54% who have a negative view, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Her net favorability is lower than that of the past four vice presidents, including Mike Pence, Cheney, Gore and Biden.
Before being sworn in as vice president, Harris served as the attorney general of California and as a U.S. senator.