Karine Jean Pierre, White House Press Secretary, was forced to clarify remarks she made after suggesting that President Joe Biden wouldn’t serve the full four years of his second term.
The reporters bombarded Jean Pierre with questions regarding Biden’s campaign for reelection at the White House Press Briefing on Tuesday. One of the questions asked was if Biden planned to serve his entire second term.
“I’m just not going to get ahead of the president. That’s something for him to decide,” Jean-Pierre responded. “I’m just not going to get ahead of it.”
“Does the president plan to serve all eight years?”
Press Sec: “That’s something for him to decide”
— Alex Thompson (@AlexThomp) April 25, 2023
Jean-Pierre’s ambiguous response prompted speculation that Biden might not serve the entire second term if he is re-elected.
Jean-Pierre clarified after the briefing that Biden would serve a second full term if elected. Jean-Pierre said that she didn’t give a clearer answer during the briefing in order to not violate the Hatch Act. This federal law prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activities.
As you know, we are serious about following the law. I wanted to make sure I did not go further than the law allows me to in 2024. “But I can confirm that @POTUS will serve the full 8 years if reelected,” she tweeted.
As you know, we take following the law seriously. So I wanted to be sure that I didn’t go into 2024 more than is appropriate under the law. But I can confirm that if re-elected, @POTUS would serve all 8 years. https://t.co/n9OfMV4D1Y
— Karine Jean-Pierre (@PressSec) April 25, 2023
Initial responses played on concerns about Biden’s age and cognitive ability. Biden, who is already the oldest president in U.S. History, will be 82 at his second inauguration. He will also be 86 at the end.
Some critics who doubt Biden’s suitability for the presidency believe that Democrats want Biden back to run to make sure that Democrats retain control of the White House, even if Biden were to resign due to his health issues or pass away while in office.
A Democratic strategist recently said that Democrats should reconsider whether Vice President Kamala Harris is Biden’s running mate in 2024, because of the age of Biden and Harris’ unpopularity. This combination may convince moderate voters to oppose a Biden/Harris ticket.
If Biden, for whatever reason, cannot serve a second term in full, replacing her with a candidate more popular would alleviate the concern about “succession”.