This week in politics: Nikki Haley suggests U.S. leaders are too old as Biden gets a physical, Feinstein forgoes reelection
The week saw former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley enter the 2024 presidential contest with a generational salvo against America's aging leadership.
This comes as President Joe Biden continues to face questions about whether he is too old – read: unfit – to seek a second term, as polling show a majority of Democrats don't want him to run again.
Much of the country's attention was gripped this week by the tragedy at Michigan State University, where a gunman opened fire on campus killing and injuring students.
In the wake of the tragedy, Biden and national leaders conveyed sympathies and called for action. But any significant gun reform appears unlikely to move through Congress. in response, Michigan Gov, Gretchen Whitmer indicated that Democrats, who also control the state legislature, are going to take steps to curtail gun violence.
And California’s longest serving senator, Democrat Dianne Feinstein, decided to not seek reelection after a more than 30-year career in Congress which is bound to shake up the 2024 map.
What happened this week in politics?
Nikki Haley officially entered next year's White House battle and delivered her first speech that went out of its way to call attention to how old the potential nominees for both parties could be.
President Biden's routine physical is drawing heightened scrutiny given continued anxieties about his age, especially among Democrats.
Speaking of age, 89-year-old Dianne Feinstein ended months of speculation by announcing she wouldn't seek another term which up a competitive and expensive seat in deep blue California.
Parts of a long-awaited report by a Georgia grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump and his allies attempts to interfere in the 2020 election came out this week.
The mass shooting at Michigan State University — which around the fifth anniversary of the Parkland, Florida massacre — has once again raised the question about gun access versus 2nd Amendment rights
Haley and the next generation
At the outset the 51-year-old Haley made clear that one of her leading arguments to be president is that it's time for a new generation of leaders.
At one point she even called for a "mandatory mental competency" test for elected officials age 75 or older.
That was one of several not-so-subtle jabs targeted at 80-year-old President Joe Biden or 76-year-old former President Donald Trump, though she did not mentioned either by name.
Haley is not taking this approach in a vacuum.
A USA TODAY/Suffolk University survey released in December showed 50% of registered voters think the ideal president should be between 51 and 65 years old. Another 25% said the country's leader to be younger, between 35 and 50 years old.
More: In search of the perfect president. What Americans say they want, from age to gender
Fewer Dems want Biden in 2024
The age question coupled with reelection remained salient even as Biden received a good bill of health from the White House physician on Thursday.
Biden is already the oldest person to win the presidency and, though he insists he’s capable of serving another four years, anxiety is beginning to build even within his own party.
Politics: Biden undergoing medical checkup as decision nears on re-election bid
More: Hunter Biden's art dealer to House Republicans: Ask president's son about painting sales
Barely more than a third – 37% – of Democrats want Biden to run again according to a new poll released this week from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. That's a considerable drop from the 52% of Democrats who said the same thing in October.
Feinstein will not run again
Age certainly was a factor in Sen. Dianne Feinstein's decision to forgo another campaign next year.
California’s longest serving senator, who will be 90 this year, was first elected in 1992 and has been dogged by questions about her ability to serve.
Feinstein has a sweeping legacy among progressives, including the 1994 assault weapons ban that eventually expired in 2004. But as she noted in her statement — "there are times for all things under the sun" to end.
What this means for next year's Senate race is more than the passing of a torch, but a raucous and expensive race in a solidly blue state that has already seen multiple Democrats — including Reps. Katie Porter, Adam Schiff and Barbara Lee — throwing their name in the ring.
Georgia grand jury on Trump
Remember when former President Trump called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and asked the election official to "find" more votes after losing the 2020 election?
Well a 23-member grand jury tasked with investigating Trump's attempts to overturn the election released three parts of its findings, and much like other probes it found no evidence of election fraud.
In total, the panel heard from 75 witnesses.
The bombshell: the grand jury "believes that perjury may have been committed by one or more witnesses testifying before it," according to the report.
Politics: New details of Georgia Trump investigation. What we know.
More: Georgia Trump investigation. Read the full grand jury excerpts
What remains unknown: any charging recommendations and the names of the witnesses suspected of lying. That will remain under seal as Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis — who said charging are "imminent" — continues to dig into the matter.
Whitmer promises action after MSU
National political leaders went through the usual motions in the wake of another mass shooting, this time on the campus of Michigan State University.
Three students were killed, and five others injured on Tuesday, which also happened to be the eve of the five-year anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 people.
To date, there have been 71 mass shootings in the first six weeks of the year across the country.
Nation: Clashing gun messages at site of Michigan State vigil; thousands mourn slain students: Updates
Biden renewed his call to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, but that isn't likely to happen with a divided Congress.
Spartan Strong. pic.twitter.com/pP68ugQi6G
— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) February 16, 2023
The paralysis in Washington, however, didn't deter Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who telegraphed this week that action will be taken at the state level, where Democrats hold "trifecta" control (governor's mansion, House and Senate) for the first time in decades.
"The time for only thoughts and prayers is over," Whitmer said in a February 15 tweet.
"We are in a unique position to take action and save lives," she added. "And that’s exactly what we are going to do in the weeks ahead."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Haley lays out vision, fewer Dems want Biden: week in politics