Donald Trump is the oldest man to have ever first assumed the office of the president. When he was inaugurated in 2017, Trump was 70 years and 220 days old, barely edging out Ronald Reagan, who was 69 years and 348 days old when he was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 1980. If elected, Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden, who turns 78 next November, would bury the current age record.
A new report by Politico, based on claims from multiple Biden advisers, says the former vice president has made clear to staffers that it’s “virtually inconceivable” that he’d run for a second term if he manages to take down Trump in 2020.
“Former Vice President Joe Biden’s top advisers and prominent Democrats outside the Biden campaign have recently revived a long-running debate whether Biden should publicly pledge to serve only one term, with Biden himself signaling to aides that he will serve only a single term,” Politico reports.
“While the option of making a public pledge remains available, Biden has for now settled on an alternative strategy: quietly indicate that he will almost certainly not run for a second term while declining to make a promise that he and his advisers fear could turn him into a lame duck and sap him of his political capital,” the outlet continues.
Politico cites “four people who regularly talk to Biden,” who told the paper on condition of anonymity that it is “virtually inconceivable that he will run for re-election in 2024.”
In 2024, “he’s going to be 82 years old in four years and he won’t be running for reelection,” an unnamed “prominent adviser” to Biden told Politico.
The decision to leak this inside information, the adviser suggested, is to potentially help Biden among young left-wing voters, effectively providing a tacit promise that Biden will help bring a younger, more diverse figure from the left into office in 2024.
“This makes Biden a good transition figure,” said the adviser. “I’d love to have an election this year for the next generation of leaders, but if I have to wait four years [in order to] to get rid of Trump, I’m willing to do it.”
According to another top adviser for Biden, he plans on finding a strong running mate who can then take the lead in 2024, something he can’t say outright but is making clear internally.
For now, as Politico highlights, Biden is publicly rejecting the notion of a one-term pledge. After saying flatly that will not serve just one term in April, Biden hedged in October, saying that while he wouldn’t promise not to run in 2024, he wasn’t promising to run again then either.
Biden continues to be the frontrunner among the still crowded Democratic field. For a brief period, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren was giving Biden a run for his money, even surpassing him in some polls, but her support has since declined. Most polls show Biden enjoying a double digit lead, followed by democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, then Warren.