Manhattan Rep. Carolyn Maloney doubled down Wednesday on her view that President Biden won’t seek re-election — even as she said she would back him if he did.
“I don’t believe he’s running for re-election,” Maloney declared Tuesday night during the NY1 three-way Democratic primary debate for New York’s 12th congressional district against Rep. Jerry Nadler and lawyer Suraj Patel.
Maloney’s surprise statement became national news and has become a talking point for Republicans that proof that Biden is washed up.
But it wasn’t just Maloney.
Nadler, who — because of court-ordered redistricting mandated after illegal gerrymandering by state Democrats — chose to fight it out with his one-time ally Maloney, also showed a lack of confidence in the commander in chief.
And he would not commit to supporting Biden’s re-election.
“Too early to say. Doesn’t serve the purpose of the Democratic Party to, to deal with that until after the midterms,” Nadler said in the debate.
By comparison, Patel simply said “yes” that he supports Biden’s re-election.
Maloney, during an interview with The Post Wednesday, stood by her surprise remark that Biden, 79, won’t seek re-election. Biden’s approval ratings are at record lows in recent polls.
“That’s my personal opinion,” she said.
But a day later, Maloney sought to soften the blow, saying she would support Biden if he does run for a second term.
“If President Biden runs again, I will support him,” said Maloney, who has served in Congress since 1993.
“I’m glad Biden ran for president and defeated President Trump. He’s a great president.”
Political analysts said Maloney stated the obvious about what many Democrats are thinking privately about Biden, 79.
“It tells you that Democrats are very worried about a Joe Biden campaign in 2024 and what it could do to their chances of keeping the House,” said consultant Hank Sheinkopf.
“If we judge by today his poll numbers today, they’re atrocious and the sense that things are out of control and mismanaged is clear. It seems it would take an act of god to bring inflation down and lower gas prices in order to make Biden look like he’s in charge again – whether it’s his fault or not – and it looks like he’s not.”
Sheinkopf said the video of Maloney and Nadler’s lack of enthusiasm for Biden is a “very good anti-Biden ad” for Republicans.
“Republicans will be able to use the video from that debate in races around the country by saying: `even if these people don’t want him!.’”
Stu Loeser, who served as press secretary for former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, tweeted Tuesday night, “If lifelong professional liberal Dems in one of the deepest blue districts in the US can’t support the Democratic agenda, then….”
“Right on cue, the not-even-that-good oppo team at the RNC weaponizes this against Biden. That’s the downside.”
Perhaps sensing the political damage her remarks inflicted on Biden, Maloney also issued a statement on twitter.
“I will absolutely support President Biden, if he decides to run for re-election,” she said. “Biden’s leadership securing historic investments for healthcare, climate & economic justice prove once again why he is the strong and effective leader we need right now.”
“I urge all Democrats to stay united & focused on working towards winning the midterms,” she added.
Nadler also expounded on his non-endorsement of a second Biden term Wednesday, saying it was not intended as a snub.
“Anyone watching last night’s debate would have heard my extremely effusive comments about President Biden’s performance during historically trying times. As I have said many times, I strongly support the president,” Nadler said told The Post.
“My point in response to a yes or no question about the 2024 election was simply that a discussion about anything other then the historic midterm election this year is a distraction from our important work of keeping our House and Senate majorities and protecting our democracy.”
But Patel, during an MSNBC interview Wednesday, accused Maloney and Nadler of throwing the president “under the bus.”
“What the heck are you thinking, giving Republicans talking points ammo and making an ageist argument against your own president,” Patel said.
“Fact of the matter is, Joseph Robinette Biden was the only one capable of beating Donald Trump… He will after this climate bill, be the most accomplished President since Lyndon Baines Johnson. And as commander in chief, he has put Putin in a box.”
Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-Bronx-Queens) previously said she “will cross that bridge when we get to it” when asked about Biden’s re-election, saying she would first focus on helping Democrats preserve their House majority in the mid-term elections.
Other House Democratic members from New York had no immediate comment.