President Biden is reportedly upset about the media’s constant coverage of his age, which will likely remain a thorn on his side as he inches closer towards a 2024 run.
Biden, who just turned 80 last month, is the oldest-serving president in U.S. history. And questions over his fitness to lead has been a cause of concern for both his detractors and supporters alike.
On Tuesday, Politico published a story about how “eerily quiet” the 2024 race is. Republicans are largely mum about former President Trump’s already-declared candidacy as his polls continue to wane and legal troubles carry on. Meanwhile, Biden has been reluctant to officially announce his re-election bid though he has repeatedly said he “intends” to run.
“The president has vented to allies about how often his age is mentioned in the press — ‘You think I don’t know how f—ing old I am?’ he said to one earlier this year. But who knows what the fates have in store for someone who just turned 80 a few weeks ago (Sorry, Mr. President!),” Politico’s Jonathan Martin wrote.
The White House declined to comment.
In October, Politico reported on the White House feeling “trepidation” over Biden’s 80th birthday and hoping to “downplay” the celebration. The article noted, “His age has always been a sensitive topic among his closest allies and planning is underway as to how to best navigate the occasion.”
Top Democrats have been vocal in supporting a Biden reelection bid, particularly in the aftermath of the 2022 midterms where Democrats performed much stronger than anticipated. But polls consistently show Democratic voters continue voicing that they’d rather not see Biden run in 2024, with many citing concerns over his fitness.
Throughout his political career, Biden has been known to be a “gaffe machine,” which has only continued into his presidency. Some of his GOP critics, however, have cited his more bizarre blunders as a sign of a mental decline.
Perhaps the most jarring gaffe in recent months was in September when he called out for a dead congresswoman at an event after he previously acknowledged her passing weeks prior.
“Jackie, are you here? Where’s Jackie? She must not be here,” Biden looked around for Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., before continuing his speech. Walorski had died in a car accident in August.
The legacy media has put a spotlight on the elder statesman, but not always consistently.
In July, for example, The New York Times ran a report titled “At 79, Biden Is Testing the Boundaries of Age and the Presidency,” sounding the alarm that his age “has become an uncomfortable issue for him and his party.”
However, a report from the same paper published the day before Biden’s 80th birthday on November 20, offered a stark reversal on how the president’s age should be covered.
The article, titled “President Biden Is Turning 80. Experts Say Age Is More Than a Number,” suggested Biden falls into the category of “super-agers,” which is a “subgroup of people that maintain their mental and physical functioning and tend to live longer than the average person their age.”