Harris Pressed On Whether She Is Ready To Become President ‘If Necessary’
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris disembarks Air Force Two plane upon her arrival to attend the 43rd ASEAN Summit at the Soekarno Hatta International airport in Tangerang on September 5, 2023.
(Photo by WILLY KURNIAWAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Vice President Kamala Harris insisted she is ready to take over as president if President Joe Biden is unable to perform his duties amid concerns about his age and health.

Associated Press reporter Chris Megerian asked Harris about that prospect on Wednesday during an interview in Jakarta, Indonesia, where the vice president is attending a summit with the leaders of Southeast Asian countries.

“Questions about the president’s age often go hand-in-hand with questions about how you would step in the role if necessary,” Megerian said. “Do you feel prepared for that possibility? Has serving as vice president prepared you for that job?”

Harris responded with a “yes” and expounded on the answer when Megerian pressed her to describe the process.

“Well, first of all, I’m answering your hypothetical. But Joe Biden is going to be fine. So that is not going to come to fruition,” she said. “But let us also understand that every vice president — every vice president — understands that when they take the oath, that they must be very clear about the responsibility they may have to take over the job of being president. I am no different.”

Biden is running a re-election campaign for another four years in the White House with Harris as his running mate, despite her low approval numbers. Already the oldest person to be president, Biden would be 86 at the end of a second term. His tendency to lose his train of thought while speaking and moments caught on camera where he has tripped or fallen over have spurred concerns about his ability to lead effectively.

Multiple polls show a majority of voters, including among Democrats, are worried that Biden is too old for another term. Some have expressed similar concern, though to a lesser degree, toward 77-year-old former President Donald Trump, who is currently the GOP frontrunner in the 2024 contest.

Megerian asked Harris if she believes Biden will be able to serve as president until he is 86 and whether she has seen any changes in him in recent years.


“First of all, let me say: Our president has been an extraordinary leader who has accomplished things that previous presidents hoped and dreamed and promised they would do and did not achieve,” Harris said.

“So yes, I see him every day — a substantial amount of time we spend together is in the Oval Office where I see how his ability to understand issues and weave through complex issues in a way that no one else can to make smart and important decisions on behalf of the American people have played out,” she added. “And so, I will say to you that I think the American people ultimately want to know that their president delivers, and Joe Biden delivers.”

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