(Bloomberg) — A top congressional ally said he expects President Joe Biden to seek a second term in 2024, while a prominent progressive Democratic lawmaker stopped short of supporting his re-election.
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Chris Coons, a US senator from Biden’s home state of Delaware, and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York were responding on Sunday to a New York Times article that cited concern among Democratic Party officials about Biden’s leadership, age and ability to win if formerly President Donald Trump ran against him.
Ocasio-Cortez said Biden “has been doing a very good job so far,” but stopped short of supporting his re-election. The immediate focus should be this year’s midterm elections in November, she said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“We will cross that bridge when we get to it,” she said. “Right now, we need to focus on winning a majority, instead of a presidential election.”
Coons said on “Fox News Sunday” that Biden intends to seek a second term, while adding “I’m not speaking on his behalf or announcing a candidacy.” He defended the president’s record, calling Biden’s leadership “impressive.”
“The deficit is coming down. He’s got clear plans for how to tackle inflation, and he’s helping lead the United States to a position of strength on the world stage,” Coons said. “I can understand why he might think running for re-election is a good idea.”
The White House declined to comment.
At age 79, Biden has faced questions about his mental fitness for office and whether he’ll seek re-election, which he brushed off at a news conference in January. At the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner on April 30, he said the midterms may lead to “more partisan gridlock, but I’m confident we can work it out during my remaining six years in the presidency.”
While polls Biden’s approval ratings are at the lowest of his suggestive presidency amid the fastest US inflation in 40 years, Democrats have sought to close ranks ahead of the midterms.
Still, the New York Times story included at least one on-the-record call by a Democratic National Committee member for the president to step aside in 2024. “To say our country was on the right track would flagrantly depart from reality,” Steve Simeonidis, a DNC member from Miami, was quoted as saying.
(Updates with White House no comment in seventh paragraph.)
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