Vice President Kamala Harris triggered new questions Wednesday about President Biden’s 2024 election plans — saying she wanted to walk back a remark indicating that Biden had already decided to run for a second term.
“The president intends to run and if he does, I will be his ticket-mate,” Harris told reporters on Air Force Two en route to San Francisco. “We will run together.”
According to a pool report from Erin Logan of the Los Angeles Times, “The White House said [Harris] wanted to clarify comments she made on CNN a few days ago.”
In the CNN appearance, which took place Monday, Harris declared emphatically that she and Biden are a package deal for Democrats.
“Joe Biden is running for re-election and I will be his ticket-mate,” the veep told host Dana Bash.
Biden, who turns 80 this year, reportedly has been annoyed by recent speculation that he might not seek a second term — making Harris’ walk-back turn heads in Washington.
The president currently is attending a NATO summit in Spain and there was no immediate reaction from the White House.
Biden’s average approval rating is at a record-low 38.8%, with 56.9% of Americans disapproving of his performance, according to RealClearPolitics. Former President Donald Trump’s approval rating was 43.3% at the same point in his presidency.
The president would be 86 years old if he completes a second term, but has insisted for months that he intends to run again. In March, he said that he would be “very fortunate” to face Trump in 2024.
“The next election, I’d be very fortunate if I had that same man running against me,” Biden said at a NATO news conference in Belgium.
At a White House press conference in January, Biden said he intends to keep Harris as his running mate in 2024.
“Are you satisfied with her work on this issue [of voting rights]? And can you guarantee, do you commit that she will be your running mate in 2024 provided that you run again?” NBC News reporter Kristen Welker asked Biden.
“Yes and yes,” Biden replied.
“Do you care to expand?” Welker asked.
“No, there’s no need to. I mean, she’s going to be my running mate, number one. And number two, I did put her in charge. I think she’s doing a good job,” Biden said.
In December, Biden said in an interview with ABC News anchor David Muir that he’d run again if he’s in “good health.”
“If I’m in the health I’m in now — I’m in good health — then, in fact, I would run again,” Biden said. “I’m a great respecter of fate. Fate has intervened in my life many, many times.”
But that same month, Harris told the Wall Street Journal in an interview that she and Biden had not discussed whether they are running together for re-election. She also said she was unaware of whether Biden is running for a second term.
“I will tell you this without any ambiguity: We do not talk about nor have we talked about re-election, because we haven’t completed our first year and we’re in the middle of a pandemic,” she said at the time.
Asked specifically if she believes Biden will run again, Harris told the paper, “I’ll be very honest: I don’t think about it, nor have we talked about it.”
Harris the following month slammed “gossip” that Biden might replace her on the Democratic ticket with someone else, such as Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.).
Biden would have an uphill climb if he runs again. Although he won the most votes of any candidate in US history in 2020, his support collapsed following the chaotic troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in August.
Public support dipped further as inflation notched four-decade highs — hitting 8.6% in May — as violent crime and illegal immigration spiked and the COVID-19 pandemic dragged on, surpassing one million US deaths.