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Harris pledges transparency on Biden health while dismissing age concerns for 2024 election

By Jake Beardslee · November 30, 2023

In brief…

  • Harris said she would inform public if necessary, but no issues with Biden's ability to serve
  • Defended administration's track record and Biden's leadership
  • Dismissed GOP claims about Biden's diminished capacity
Vice President Kamala Harris defended President Biden's fitness for office and the administration's record amid ongoing speculation about the 80-year-old's ability to serve a second term starting in 2024.  The White House/Wikimedia

In an interview at The New York Times Dealbook Summit, Vice President Kamala Harris responded to a question about whether she would inform the public if there were issues with President Biden’s ability to serve, given ongoing concerns about his age among voters.

“Of course, if necessary, but there’s no need for that,” Harris said. “I don’t, there is a political argument that is being made. That is not based on substance.” She added that speculation about her duties is “important we not be seduced into one of the only arguments that that side of the aisle has right now.”

Harris insisted the administration has “done the work,” suggesting people “look at the track record of accomplishment under this president on infrastructure alone.” She cited historians who argue Biden’s infrastructure legislation is the biggest investment since Eisenhower.

“One person makes the decisions ultimately on all these big issues and many that are less known, and that is the president, and in our case that is Joe Biden. He has proven himself to be able to do the work that I do believe the American people want,” Harris stated.

The interviewer also asked Harris about House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s recent comments that Biden today is not the person he used to negotiate with.

Harris dismissed those claims, saying “I can tell you, as I just mentioned, not only is he absolutely authoritative in rooms around the globe, but in the Oval Office.”

Concerns over Biden’s age and mental fitness, especially among media and voters, have been frequently discussed ahead of a likely 2024 re-election bid. Washington Post columnist David Ignatius wrote in September that both Biden, 80, and Harris should not seek re-election in 2024, despite admiring their accomplishments. Ignatius argued that “if [Biden] and Harris campaign together in 2024, I think Biden risks undoing his greatest achievement — which was stopping [former President Donald] Trump.”