President Joe Biden on Thursday dismissed the challenge posed by a potential rematch with Donald Trump in 2024, saying he’d be “very fortunate” to face Trump again despite polling suggesting that such a contest would be very close.
The remarks are especially notable coming during an emergency overseas trip with Western allies, many of whom fear a return to the America First — and largely anti-NATO — politics of Trump at a time of heightened anxiety about European security.
Between meetings with world leaders in Brussels to coordinate the global response to Russia’s war with Ukraine, Biden was asked in a news conference if he was concerned about whether American foreign policy would remain stable if someone else became president.
Biden told reporters that he’s not thinking about 2024.
“I don’t criticize anybody for asking that question. But the next election – I’d be very fortunate if I had that same man running against me,” Biden told reporters, referring to Trump.
Trump has not formally announced a reelection bid but remains the single most popular figure in the Republican Party and has openly hinted that he will again seek the White House.
Biden said on Thursday that the next election is far off and that he is focused on the upcoming midterms this November.
“So, we’re a long way off in elections, a long way off. My focus of any election is on making sure that we retain the House and the United States Senate so that I have the room to continue to do the things that I’ve been able to do, in terms of grow the economy and deal in a rational way with American foreign policy and be the leader of the free world,” Biden said.
Trump’s nationalist approach to foreign policy sought to break away from several longstanding US foreign policy traditions – inciting trade wars with the European Union, pulling back the US’ contribution to NATO’s collective budget and accusing NATO allies of freeloading off American generosity. Since his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump asserted that some NATO member countries hadn’t made requisite financial contributions for their common defense, suggesting the US would not have to fight for allied members if they had not fulfilled their obligations.
Biden has sought to brand his presidency as one in which the US has returned to the diplomatic stage following an era of isolation under Trump. And he’s repeatedly argued that America has a leading role to play in ensuring democracies persevere over autocracies.
Biden and the White House have previously indicated that the President intends to run for reelection and that he plans to have Vice President Kamala Harris continue on as his running mate.
Biden told ABC News in December that he plans to run again, but suggested added that he’s “a great respecter of fate.”
“Fate has intervened in my life many, many times. If I’m in the health I’m in now – I’m in good health – then in fact I would run again,” Biden continued.
The President also said at the time that he would be up for a rematch against Trump, jokingly responding, “You’re trying to tempt me now.”
“Sure. Why would I not run against Donald Trump? (If) he’s the nominee, that increases the prospect of running,” Biden added.
Biden, who will be 81 on Election Day in 2024, is already the oldest person in American history to be inaugurated as president and the
Dr. Kevin O’Connor, the White House physician, said after the President’s annual physical last November that Biden is “fit to successfully execute the duties of the president, to include those as Chief Executive, Head of State and Commander in Chief.”