First lady Jill Biden pushed back on concerns about President Joe Biden’s age and dismissed a proposal by Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley for politicians over age 75 to take a mental competency test.
“Ridiculous,” the first lady said, responding to Haley’s proposal during an interview with CNN, which will air as part of “CNN Primetime: Jill Biden Abroad” at 9 p.m. ET on Monday.
Asked if her husband, who would be 82 at his inauguration if he’s reelected, would consider taking such a test, Jill Biden said, “We would never even discuss something like that.”
Haley, a former US ambassador to the United Nations and twice-elected South Carolina governor, first put forth the proposal when she announced her presidential candidacy last month. Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont who caucuses with the Democrats, slammed the proposal as “absurd” and ageist.
“We are fighting racism. We’re fighting sexism. We’re fighting homophobia. I think we should also be fighting ageism. Trust people, look at people, and say, ‘You know, this person is competent. This person’s incompetent.’ There are a lot of 40-year-olds out there who ain’t particularly competent,” Sanders said in an interview with CBS News last month.
As the Bidens prepare for a possible 2024 presidential campaign, the first lady pushed back on concerns about her husband’s age, citing his recent travel schedule as reflective of his stamina.
“How many 30-year-olds could travel to Poland, get on the train? Go nine more hours, go to Ukraine, meet with President (Volodymyr) Zelensky?” she said. “So, look at the man. Look what he’s doing. Look what he continues to do each and every day.”
During an extensive sit-down with CNN, Jill Biden said she is “all for” her husband running for reelection in 2024. But the first lady also left an opening for her husband should he decide against a run.
“It’s Joe’s decision,” she said. “And we support whatever he wants to do. If he’s in, we’re there. If he wants to do something else, we’re there too.”