Joe Biden is increasingly thinking of his possible reelection and a rematch against former President Trump.
“He knows it’s a very real possibility,” said one longtime adviser to Biden.
In an interview with Axios that aired Sunday evening, White House chief of staff Ron Klain said Biden is anticipating the possibility of running against Trump again.
“I wouldn’t want to estimate or underestimate Donald Trump as an opponent if he chooses to run,” Klain said.
Klain then said that Biden is working to set up a list of accomplishments that will make it more difficult for Trump or any other Republican to defeat him in 2024.
“My experience … is that incumbent presidents are judged on their record,” Klain said. “President Trump had a bad record in 2020. Joe Biden is hopefully assembling a powerful record to run on if he runs for reelection in 2024.”
There have been questions about whether Biden would run for the White House again given his age. Biden is 78 and would be 81 during a 2024 presidential run.
The Hill reported earlier this year that Biden was planning on running for reelection. Days after that report, Biden told reporters during his first press conference as president that he was planning to run for reelection.
“The answer is yes, my plan is to run for reelection,” Biden said at the time in March. “That’s my expectation.”
Biden also cautioned that he’s a “great respecter of fate.”
“I’ve never been able to plan four and a half, three and a half years ahead for certain,” he said.
People close to Biden say they expect him to run again and they are aware that it could be another race against Trump.
“It’s still early but, I think we all start from a place of ‘Yeah, why wouldn’t Trump run again?’ He’s clearly pissed about the outcome of the election, he still owns his dysfunctional party and he wants another chance at the power he craves,” the longtime adviser said. “He’s pretty obvious about his intentions.”
There is a conventional wisdom in at least a segment of Washington’s political class that says Trump will choose against running and that he’d rather not endure the rigors of another campaign — let alone risk another four years in the White House. Trump is 74 and would be 77 in 2024.
But Trump has hinted time and again that he does plan on running. Last week, the former president said his supporters would be “very, very happy” about his decision on whether he would run again in 2024.
“The answer is I’m absolutely enthused,” Trump told Candace Owens on her Daily Wire talk show. “I look forward to doing an announcement at the right time.”
Earlier this year, Trump also tried to signal that he might run again.
“Who knows? I may even decide to beat them for a third time,” Trump said in February at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida, while making a false claim that he beat Biden in the 2020 election.
Jason Miller, a senior adviser to Trump, refused to weigh in on whether Trump will enter the 2024 race. But he told The Hill, “Ron Klain is smart to stay quiet about 2024.”
“If he and Biden keep screwing up the economy like last week’s abysmal jobs numbers, Democrats might not even let Biden be their nominee next time,” Miller said.
Biden is approaching the four-month marker of his presidency, and so far his job approval ratings have been high, particularly because of his promises to get Americans vaccinated for COVID-19 quickly.
A poll out on Monday showed 63 percent of Americans approve of Biden’s job performance to date, according to an Associated Press-NORC poll, an increase of 2 points since late March.
If he continues on that track, Democrats say they are anticipating a rematch in 2024.
“There is every reason to think they’ll face off again,” said Democratic strategist Christy Setzer, adding that Team Biden “needs to gear up for all it entails.”
“Their record on COVID recovery may be wildly impressive [and] it is, but when you’re running against a party of trolls who don’t believe in truth, an impressive policy record alone won’t cut it.”
Vice President Harris is an obvious successor if Biden chooses not to run for the White House. But if Trump is the GOP candidate, it’s not hard to imagine there would be serious pressure on Biden to run for reelection given his victory in 2020. Some Democrats will not want to risk running another candidate against Trump.
Some Democrats have voiced concern about Biden’s age. He is already the oldest president in the nation’s history, and if he decides to run for reelection, it will renew discussions about his ability to do the job.
Conservative commentators already have frequent discussions about Biden’s cognitive abilities and Democrats say they know that will be a huge part of the narrative, despite the fact that Biden, who has a well-known history of gaffes, hasn’t had any major slip-ups in public remarks as president.
Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons said there’s “nothing Biden can do” about whether Trump runs.
“Biden is trying to convince the 60 percent plus non-Trump cult voters he can make the government work for them,” Simmons said. “If he’s successful, Trump can’t beat him.”