Joe Biden was asked a very simple question in an interview on Sunday: has he decided whether he will run for president again in 2024?
The answer he gave was not correct.
“Look, as I said at the beginning, my intention is to run again,” Biden told “60 Minutes.” “But it’s just an intention. But is it a firm decision to submit again? That remains to be seen.”
What an interesting way to answer that question!
Especially when you consider:
1) Biden, now 79, is the oldest person elected to a first term as president.
2) He repeatedly presented himself as a “bridge” candidate to the younger generation during the 2020 campaign.
3) Speculation has been swirling almost since the day he took the oath of office, whether he would run for re-election.
Biden must know that a response like the one he gave Sunday will only fuel the whispers that he won’t run again.
Because there’s an easy way to answer the question CBS’s Scott Pelley asked. And he’s like, “Yeah, I’m running again.” Or like this: “You never know what the future holds, but I can’t see any circumstances where I wouldn’t run for a second term”. Or something along those more specific lines.
So why didn’t Biden just say that? According to him, he really hasn’t made a decision.
Here’s what Biden said in the “60 Minutes” interview:
“It is too early to make such decisions. I have great respect for fate. And so what I’m doing is I’m doing my job. I will do that work. And within a reasonable period of time after this next election cycle, next year, make a judgment about what needs to be done.”
Which is consistent with what we know about Biden’s decision-making process. It’s a bit of a layer. During the 2016 presidential campaign, he spent so much time deciding whether to run that he effectively made up his mind undecided, getting too far into the process to make a credible run and jump in.
Throughout his political career, Biden has been known as someone who deliberates (and deliberates) before making a decision. It is not surprising, therefore, that in this, the biggest decision of his political life, he is still undecided.
The pressure on Biden to do so will increase significantly after the midterm elections, however. Especially if Donald Trump jumps into the race, which could come later this year.
As Democrats consider Trump’s threat to democracy itself, it will be urgent to find out if Biden is ready to run a second campaign against the billionaire businessman. If not, there will almost certainly be a wide and contested primary field for the Democratic nomination.
In short, Biden can get away with this wishy-washy answer for a little while longer. But it will soon be, um, much clearer about his future intentions.