The United States is slouching towards a presidential election that almost nobody wants. The 2024 vote seems increasingly likely to be a re-match between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.
It would be only the seventh re-match in the 59 presidential elections in American history and the first since President Dwight D. Eisenhower faced off against Adlai Stevenson for a second time in 1956.
Voters in both major US political parties are looking for fresh faces to run for president in 2024, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll. A majority of Democratic voters, at 52 per cent, do not want Mr Biden to seek a second term, while 40 per cent of Republican voters do not want Mr Trump to seek another term in 2024. Trump, who lost the presidency in 2020 and was impeached by Congress for inciting a riot at the US Capitol but ultimately acquitted by the Senate, announced he would run again in November.
Nearly making it certain, . first lady Jill Biden gave one of the clearest indications yet that President Joe Biden will run for a second term, telling The Associated Press in an exclusive interview on Friday last week that there’s “pretty much” nothing left to do but figure out the time and place for the announcement that Biden will run for US Presidency in 2024.
Although Biden has long said that it’s his intention to seek reelection, he has yet to make it official, and he’s struggled to dispel questions about whether he’s too old to continue serving as president. Biden would be 86 at the end of a second term.
“How many times does he have to say it for you to believe it?” the first lady said in Nairobi, the second and final stop of her five-day trip to Africa. She added, “He says he’s not done. He’s not finished what he’s started. And that’s what’s important.”
Granddaughter Naomi Biden, who is on the trip, cheered the first lady’s comments after the interview. “Preach nana,” she said on Twitter.
The president himself was asked about his wife’s comments just hours later in an interview with ABC News, and laughed when told of her remarks, adding, “God love her. Look, I meant what I said, I’ve got other things to finish before I get into a full-blown campaign.”
During the interview with ABC’s David Muir, Biden, 80, was asked whether he is considering his age when deciding whether to run again, to which he replied no. However, he said it is “legitimate” for people to raise concerns about it.
Biden aides have said an announcement is likely to come in April, after the first fundraising quarter ends, which is around the time that President Barack Obama officially launched his reelection campaign.
The first lady has long been described as a key figure in Biden’s orbit as he plans his future. “Because I’m his wife,” she laughed.
She brushed off the question about whether she has the deciding vote on whether the president runs for reelection. “Of course, he’ll listen to me, because we’re a married couple,” she said. But, she added later, “he makes up his own mind, believe me.”
The wide-ranging interview took place on the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and Jill Biden recalled her trip into the country last May to meet the besieged country’s first lady, Olena Zelenska.
President Biden said in a new interview that he has “other things to finish” before starting a “full-blown” 2024 presidential campaign. Well, apparently, someone interviewed my wife today, I heard. I gotta call her and find out,” Biden told ABC News’s David Muir when asked if he’s running again.
“No, all kidding aside, my intention … has been from the beginning to run, but there’s too many other things I have to finish in the near-term before I start a campaign,” Biden said. The president has long said he intends to run for another four years in the White House, and first lady Jill Biden gave a strong indication last week that he’ll do so.
They visited a school that was being used to help migrants who fled the fighting. Some of the families, Jill Biden said, had hid underground for weeks before making their escape. “We thought then, how long can this go on? And here we are, a year later,” she said. “And look at what the Ukrainian people have done. I mean, they are so strong and resilient, and they are fighting for their country.”
“We’re all hoping that this war is over soon, because we see, every day, the damage, the violence, the horror on our televisions,” the first lady added. “And we just can’t believe it.”
Jill Biden is the only first lady to continue her career in addition to her ceremonial duties, teaching writing and English to community college students. At 71 years old, she said she’s not ready to think about retirement. “I know that I will know when it’s enough,” she said. “But it’s not yet.”
She said she left detailed lesson plans for a substitute teacher while she was on her trip, and she’s been texting with students as she was traveling. She plans to be back in the classroom at 8 a.m. on Tuesday morning, after arriving home from Africa around 3 a.m. Monday.
Education has been a flashpoint in American politics, especially with conservative activists and politicians trying to limit discussion of race and sexuality in classrooms. “I don’t believe in banning books,” she said.
She added: “I think the teachers and the parents can work together and decide what the kids should be taught.” During the interview, Jill Biden reflected on the legacy of former President Jimmy Carter, who recently began home hospice care. The Carter Center, which the former president founded after leaving the White House, was key in helping to eliminate the Guinea worm parasite in African countries.
“That’s the perfect example,” she said. “He’s such a humble man. He didn’t go out and shout, ‘Look what I’ve done.’ He just did the work.” Jill Biden recalled Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, reaching out on the eve of Joe Biden’s inauguration two years ago. “They called and said congratulations,” she said. “And it meant so much to me and to Joe.”
She also talked about visiting the Carters at their home in Plains, Georgia, early in Biden’s presidency. “It’s not just that here are two presidents. It’s here are two friends,” she said. “Actually four friends, who have really supported one another over the years.
“It’s legitimate for people to raise issues about my age,” he told Muir. “It’s totally legitimate to do that. And the only thing I can say is, ‘Watch me.’” Biden, the oldest president in U.S. history, would be 82 when sworn in if reelected in 2024. Biden’s age has drawn concerns from both sides of the aisle. (Associated Press writer Chris Megerian in Washington contributed to this report.)