Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) said this week that it was irresponsible for the major parties to nominate candidates who are or will be in their 80s to serve as president. The comment appeared to be a direct criticism of President Joe Biden, who turned 81 last month and would be 86 at the end of a second term.
Phillips is seeking the Democratic Party presidential nomination against Biden. Despite the apparent longshot nature of the bid, Phillips leveled the critique against his party’s standard-bearer.
Phillips made the comments while campaigning in New Hampshire this week, saying that it was “irresponsible for Americans to place in the White House presidents who are in their 80s. The 54-year-old candidate said that such a decision would be “wrong” and “dangerous.”
He complimented Biden’s character, saying that Biden was a “good man” and a “good president,” but added that “I do not think the country is looking for 80-plus-year-old presidents.
The candidate cited the stress of being president and the potential for a crisis “always around the corner.” Phillips added that the country could not “take that risk in an era like this.”
Phillips also criticized former President Donald Trump, accusing him of pursuing policies that would “undermine the very foundations of institutions of democracy.”
Multiple polls showed that the majority of the American public is concerned about Biden’s age and health. An AP-NORC poll from earlier this year showed that 77% of Americans believed that Biden was too old to effectively serve in office. This sentiment was agreed with by 89% of Republicans, but also 69% of Democrats.
— Big League Politics (@bigleaguepol) December 17, 2023
Furthermore, far fewer respondents agreed with the idea that Trump was too old for office.
In addition, multiple polls showed concerns about Biden’s mental and physical health. This followed Biden falling or slipping several times, including at the U.S. Air Force Academy graduation and up the steps of Air Force One.
Biden himself has made comments that he may not be running for a second term if Trump was not running in 2024.