President Joe Biden He celebrated his 81st birthday on Monday by repeatedly joking about his advanced age, even as the White House staunchly defended his resilience and rejected polls, already by a prominent Democrat, suggesting the issue could cost him votes in next year's elections.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the president's age should not be a primary focus.
“Our perspective is that it is not about the age, but about the experience of the president,” he said, while noting that Biden had successfully advocated in Congress several important laws , including a broad public works package and an initiative on public health and the fight against climate change. and visited active war zones not controlled by the US military in Ukraine and Israel .
"What we are saying is that we have to judge him by what he has done, not by his numbers," Jean-Pierre said. “I would put the president's resilience and wisdom, his ability to do this on behalf of the American people, against anyone. “Anybody, any day of the week.”
“By the way, today is my birthday,” Biden told a crowd on the South Lawn of the White House as he pardoned the turkeys Thanksgiving Liberty and Bell.
“I just want you to know that it is difficult to turn 60,” the president added with a smile. "Difficult."
Noting that the pre-Thanksgiving pardon ceremony dates back 76 years, Biden also said, "I want you to know that I wasn't there, the first one."
Biden, the oldest president in US history, He has used humor for months to try to calm the issue , even when polls suggest it's no laughing matter. A August survey The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 77% of American adults, including 69% of Democrats, considered Biden too old to be effective for four more years.
As he seeks a second term, Biden could headed for a revenge with the former president donald trump , who is 77 years old and was the oldest person elected to a first term until Biden was elected. Trump himself has made some recent and notable mistakes . However, the same AP-NROC poll found that 51% of adults (and only 28% of Republicans) said Trump was too old for a second term.
Coinciding with Biden's birthday, Trump published a new letter from his doctor reporting that the former president's "overall health is excellent."
“His physical examinations were within the normal range and his cognitive examinations were exceptional,” wrote Dr. Bruce A. Aronwald of New Jersey, who said he has been Trump's doctor since 2001 and most recently examined him on November 13. September.
Aronwald added that Trump's most recent lab results were "even more favorable than previous tests in some of the most important parameters," citing recent weight loss that he attributed to "an improved diet and continued daily physical exercise, while "He maintains a rigorous schedule."
The letter does not mention Trump's weight, blood pressure or other test results, but still states that he "will continue to enjoy an active and healthy lifestyle for years to come."
Trump is not the only one highlighting the issue.
David Axelrod, who helped Barack Obama win the presidency in 2008 and later was a top White House adviser in an administration that included Biden as vice president, was especially outspoken recently in comments to the New York Times.
“I think he has a 50-50 chance here, but no better than that, maybe a little worse,” Axelrod said to columnist Maureen Dowd on Biden's chances in 2024. “He thinks he can fool nature here and it's really risky. They have a real problem counting on Trump to win it for them. I remember Hillary did that too.”
That was a reference to Hillary Clinton, who lost her 2016 race to Trump.
Jean Pierre said Monday that the Bidens would spend the president's birthday as they have traditionally done, with a family gathering for Thanksgiving in Nantucket, and that they planned to eat coconut pie, another tradition.
But he also tried to dismiss Axelrod's comment by saying of the negative polls about 2024: "There is no alarm behind the scenes."
"I'm not going to comment on everyone who has a comment," he said, adding, "It's not my job to tell people what to think."
Biden announced his re-election campaign in April and said then that his age “is not known to me.”
“They're going to look at a race and they're going to judge whether I have it or not,” the president said of voters. “I respect that they look at it carefully. I would also look closely at it. I looked at it carefully before deciding to run.”
Jean-Pierre reiterated that voters will make their own decisions, saying: “We are not going to change the minds of Americans. “Americans are going to feel what they feel and we respect that.”