Biden says he would be 'very fortunate' if Trump runs against him in 2024
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said Thursday he would be "very fortunate" if former President Donald Trump decides to run against him in the 2024 presidential election.
The remark came during a press conference at the NATO headquarters in Brussels in response to a question about "widespread concerns in Europe" that Trump, who had long-standing disagreements with NATO, could be elected again.
"(In) the next election, I'd be very fortunate if I had that same man running against me," Biden said.
Trump continues to falsely argue the 2020 election was stolen by citing baseless voting fraud allegations. Although Trump has not formally announced a run for president in 2024, he's repeatedly teased that he will again seek the Republican nomination, boasting in a February speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, "We'll do it again."
Some observers speculate Democrats could benefit from a third presidential run by the polarizing Trump because his candidacy could energize a progressive base otherwise not enthused by Biden. Trump's actions on Jan. 6, 2021, leading up to a riot at the U.S. Capitol to overturn the election, are the subject of an ongoing Democratic-led investigation in the House.
Biden, who has said he intends to run for reelection, has nevertheless faced questions whether he will follow through given his age and difficult first year in office. Biden will be 81 years old during the 2024 election and would be 86 at the end of a second term. A March 15 Wall Street Journal poll found 52% of Americans don't believe Biden will run for reelection in two years, while 29% said they expect him to seek a second term. Nineteen percent said they were undecided.
More Americans believe Trump will run than the sitting president. The poll found 49% of Americans believe Trump will run a third time, compared to 27% who don't think he will. Twenty-four percent were unsure.
Biden, who has been hampered by low approval ratings for months, said the 2024 election is still "a long way off" and that his focus remains maintaining Democratic control of the House and Senate in this year's midterm elections.
But he said it's "not an illogical question for someone to ask" about the future of U.S.-European relations if Trump returns to office.
"One of the things that I take some solace from is, I don't think you'll find any European leader who thinks that I am not up to the job," Biden said.
Biden pointed to his first G7 conference last year in England. "I said 'America's back.' And one one of my counterparts, colleagues, a head of state said, 'For how long?' And so I don't blame, I don't criticize anybody for asking that question."
Biden's approval rating in the RealClearPolitics average of polls is 41%, with 53% of Americans disapproving of his job performance. Meanwhile, Trump is viewed favorably by 44% of Americans, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average, while 51% view him unfavorably.
In the 2020 election, Biden defeated Trump 306 to 232 electoral votes and a margin of more than 7 million votes (51.3% to 46.9%) in the popular vote. But Biden won the battleground states of Georgia, Wisconsin and Arizona by razor-thin margins, meaning the outcome was significantly closer than the electoral college tally might suggest.
Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @Joeygarrison