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White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre laughed off a question about the physical and mental well-being of U.S. President Joe Biden during an interview on Monday.
In an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon, Jean-Pierre responded with surprise and told the host that a question about Biden’s physical and mental capabilities should not even be asked.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Monday, June 13, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
“Does the president have the stamina, physically and mentally, do you think to continue on even after 2024?” Lemon asked.
“Don, you’re asking me this question,” a visibly stunned Jean-Pierre exclaimed. “Oh my gosh. He’s the president of the United States.”
DON LEMON: “Does the president has the stamina, physically and mentally, do you think to continue on even after 2024?”
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: “That is not a question that we should be even asking” pic.twitter.com/dUfQil9qKp
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) June 14, 2022
The press secretary then laughed and told Lemon that she, 47, sometimes struggles to keep up with Biden, 79.
“That is not a question that we should be even asking,” she added. “Just look at the work he does. And look how he’s delivering for the American public.”
US President Joe Biden speaks during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., US, on Monday, June 13, 2022. (Tasos Katopodis/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Jean-Pierre then brushed off criticisms from a New York Times report that surfaced earlier this week that questioned the president’s mental capabilities as “hearsay” and “not what we care about.”
The article quoted several prominent Democrats who questioned whether Biden was the best choice to lead the party into the 2024 election.
Jean-Pierre added: “We care about how we are going to deliver for the American people. How we’re going to make their lives better. That’s what the president talks about. That is his focus and that’s what we’ll continue to focus on.”
Biden became the oldest individual ever elected to serve in the White House in Nov. 2020, and could look to break the record should he decide to seek re-election in 2024.
WASHINGTON, DC June 13, 2022: US President Joe Biden in the East Room of the White House on June 13, 2022. (Photo by Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Concerns about Biden’s age and ability to lead the Democratic Party come amid a gaffe-filled administration, where the president would make a seemingly new policy announcement only for members of his staff to walk back the comment.
Over the last few months, Biden expressed a certain readiness for war, with both Russia and China, before administration officials said the country would not be shifting its international strategies.
In May, Biden said he would send troops to Taiwan and defend it from potential Chinese aggression to fulfill “the commitment we made.” The White House later said it had not made such a commitment and that the U.S. would maintain “strategic ambiguity” in regard to Taiwan.
The same month, Biden also said Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power.”
The comment immediately spurred backlash as it appeared Biden was explicitly calling for Putin’s removal, but White House staff later clarified the president was not calling for regime change.
In April, Biden noticeably struggled to read through a teleprompter-guided speech about Russian oligarchs and new sanctions the U.S. would be enacting.
“We’re going to seize their yachts, their luxury homes and all their ill-begotten gains of Putin’s kleptocri- k- yeah, kleptocracy- klep- — the guys who are the kleptocracies. Ha. Ha. Ha,” Biden said.
In March, Biden told U.S. service members in Poland that they would be sent to fight in Ukraine.
“You’re going to see when you’re there,” he told the troops, prompting the White House to again clarify the administration would not be sending troops to fight in the Ukraine-Russia War.
These concerns about Biden’s have also extended to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 82, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, 71, Axios reported.
On the Republican side of the aisle of the American gerontocracy, former President Donald Trump — a front-runner for the GOP in 2024 — will be 78, while Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell is 80.
Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, another presidential hopeful, is only 43.