Biden's Birthday Keeps His Age in the Spotlight

President turns 81 on Monday, with conversation continuing on whether he's too old to run
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2023 9:35 AM CST
Biden's Birthday Keeps His Age in the Spotlight
President Biden speaks in Norfolk, Virginia, on Sunday.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

It's set to be a busy day at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. on Monday, with a trio of noteworthy events taking place: the annual pre-Thanksgiving pardoning of turkeys, the delivery of the White House's Christmas tree, and the 81st birthday of President Biden, already the oldest president in America's history. The AP reports that the commander in chief will spare 20-week-old male turkeys Liberty and Bell on the White House's South Lawn, after which they'll return to their home state of Minnesota, where they'll be looked after by the University of Minnesota's College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. But it's Biden's birthday that's feeding into the continuing debate about his age, with ongoing rumblings on whether he's too old to be running for a second term.

NPR notes that even though Biden would be 86 by the time a second potential term as president ends for him, there's technically no age limit for individuals elected to federal office. GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, who's vying for his second term as well, will be 78 when the next Election Day rolls around—meaning he'd be the oldest person ever elected president if he wins—but even though that's only three-and-a-half years younger than his main Democratic rival, Trump has been leaning into their age gap, poking fun of Biden's supposed age-related issues at rallies and online (Axios has noted that maybe the former president shouldn't be so quick to go that route.)

White House officials have been trying to tamp down on conversations about their boss' age by working "both to eliminate potential gaffes and project vigor," per CNN. That has included getting Biden fitted with foot orthotics so that his gait isn't as stiff, as well as him intentionally engaging with reporters while on his bike rides. To put both Biden and Trump's age in context, Ronald Reagan, the second-oldest US president, turned 78 only after he'd left his second term. Even though voters, including younger ones, have indicated in polls that they think Biden may be too old to run again, not all feel the same. "As long as we feel like he reflects our values, age shouldn't be an issue," says Nabilah Islam Parkes, who last year became the youngest woman ever elected to Georgia's state Senate. (More President Biden stories.)

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