Vice President Kamala Harris claims that she and President Biden have never discussed their plans for the 2024 election.
Biden, 79, already is the oldest-ever president and many Democrats doubt he will run for a second term, sparking a mounting rivalry between Harris, 57, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, 39 over a potential run.
But surprisingly, Harris told the Wall Street Journal in an interview published Thursday that she and Biden have never talked about 2024 as uncertainty about Biden’s plans fuels tension among Democratic factions.
“I’m not going to talk about our conversations, but I will tell you this without any ambiguity: We do not talk about nor have we talked about re-election, because we haven’t completed our first year and we’re in the middle of a pandemic,” she said.
Asked if she believes Biden will run again, Harris said, “I’ll be very honest: I don’t think about it, nor have we talked about it.”
Biden and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, by contrast, have said he plans to run again.
“He is, that’s his intention” Psaki said last month.
Harris would be the first female president but she’s been beset by a staffing exodus and low polling numbers — as her defenders accuse Biden’s main White House staff of being insufficiently supportive and possibly racist.
Harris and Biden regularly interact, behind closed doors. For example, they often jointly receive the classified President’s Daily Brief of intelligence reports in the Oval Office, meaning they would have many opportunities to discuss their political futures.
Biden would be 86 if he completes a second term and his mental acuity has mounted as a potential campaign issue.
A Politico/Morning Consult survey published last month found that 50 percent of registered voters disagreed with the statement “Joe Biden is in good health,” while only 40 percent agreed and 10 percent did not know or had no opinion.
The poll also found that 48 percent of voters disagreed with the statement “Joe Biden is mentally fit,” while 46 percent agreed and 6 percent did not know or had no opinion.
If Harris does seek the Democratic nomination in 2024, she would be among the front-runners, according to a poll released Wednesday by Politico and Morning Consult. If Biden did not seek re-election, Harris would have the backing of 31 percent of Democratic primary voters, trailed by Buttigieg with 11 percent and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) with 8 percent, the poll found.
A poll released in late November by The Hill and HarrisX found the VP with just 13 percent support among hypothetical Democratic candidates, followed by former first lady Michelle Obama at 10 percent. All other candidates were below 5 percent in that poll.
And a Hill/Harris X poll this week found 50 percent of registered voters disapproved of the job Harris is doing as vice president.
The survey published Tuesday reported that 43 percent approve of Harris’ job performance, while 7 percent said they were unsure.
The poll further found that 39 percent of voters “strongly disapprove” of Harris, compared to 23 percent who only “somewhat approve” of her and 20 percent who “strongly approve.”