White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was visibly flabbergasted by a line of questioning from CNN that interrogated whether US PresidentJoe Biden had the “stamina” to run for re-election in 2024.
CNN’s Don Lemon put the pointed question to the White House press secretary on his prime time Monday broadcast about the commander-in-chief’s “physical” and “mental” vigour, a topic that has been given new life since a recent New York Times report quoted top-ranking Democrats who have begun to call the 79-year-old president’s age a “major issue”.
“Does the president have the stamina, physically and mentally, do you think to continue on even after 2024?” the CNN host asked.
Before answering in what seemed to be candid shock, Ms Jean-Pierre scoffed at the reporter’s ask, exclaiming: “Don! You’re asking me this question! Oh my gosh.”
She went on to expand on her rejection of the lines quoted in the New York Times article, dismissing them roundly as both “salacious” and “hearsay”.
“He’s the president of the United States. I can’t even keep up with him,” the 47-year-old press secretary jested. “That is not a question that we should be even asking.”
DON LEMON: "Does the president has the stamina, physically and mentally, do you think to continue on even after 2024?"
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: "That is not a question that we should be even asking" pic.twitter.com/dUfQil9qKp
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) June 14, 2022
“That’s not what we care about,” she added, referring to the “salacious” details unearthed by Times. “We care about how we’re going to deliver for the American people. How are we going to make their lives better.”
Over the weekend, The Times published a damning report that quoted dozens of frustrated and high-ranking Democrats who have begun to express doubt about the president’s bid for a second term in 2024.
“The presidency is a monstrously taxing job and the stark reality is the president would be closer to 90 than 80 at the end of a second term, and that would be a major issue,” David Axelrod, a chief strategist for Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns, told The Times.
For his part, Mr Biden, who would be ringing in his 82nd birthday if he were to win re-election, has indicated on multiple occasions that he fully intends to run in 2024 should he remain in good health.
As early as March of last year he was confirming to reporters that his “plan is to run for re-election”, all despite the fact that a recent poll of American voters showed that nearly half believed he would bow out of seeking a second term.
The speculation from within the party that was covered by The Times arrives as some of the Democrat’s younger lawmakers, who are also arguably more popular with the youth vote, have signalled they’re not one hundred per cent signed-on for a two-term Biden administration.
New York’s progressive congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told CNN in an interview on Sunday that she wouldn’t commit to endorsing the current president for 2024 just yet.
“I think we should endorse when we get to it, but I believe that the president has been doing a very good job so far,” the New York congresswoman told Dana Bash on State of the Union after she asked if she’d support the re-election of the president, who is already the oldest person to ever take office in the White House.
— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) June 12, 2022
“So we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it, but I think that if the president has a vision then that’s something that we’re all certainly willing to entertain and examine when the time comes,” Ms Ocasio-Cortez closed.
Mr Biden has been battling out near record level low approval ratings, which has been largely driven by America’s economic frustrations, as the country is experiencing a four-decade high inflation rate.