WASHINGTON: For the first time in history, a sitting president turned 80 years old in the White House on Sunday but did not celebrate in any public way. It wasn’t until mid-afternoon that First Lady Jill Biden posted an affectionate message, with two photos of the couple dancing in tuxedos and gala attire. “There’s no one else I’d rather dance with than you. Happy Birthday Joe! I love you,” Jill Biden tweeted.
It was the sole mention from the White House of the birthday, and with no public event scheduled no indication emerged of how, or even if, the president would celebrate his birthday. Just a day earlier, the Biden family hosted a large-scale fete at the White House – the wedding of Biden’s granddaughter Naomi, which was closed to the press. Biden does have an important matter to discuss with his family in the coming days – whether he will seek re-election in 2024.
He said at a press conference Nov 9 that he “intends” to run, and said he and his wife will “sneak away” for a week at some point between Thanksgiving and Christmas to decide with his family. He promised to make his decision public in early 2023. Various recent polls say a majority of Americans do not want Biden to run again. While influential figures who are over 70 or even 75 years old are ample in the American political landscape, the midterm elections have brought some initial generational change in the Democratic Party.
Rep Nancy Pelosi, 82, announced her decision Thursday not to run for a new term as speaker of the House of Representatives. Biden underwent a thorough medical checkup about a year ago, and the results concluded that he was “a healthy, vigorous” man who is fit to serve as president. But the rigors of the Oval Office also have made their mark on Biden, who walks now with a stiffer gait and suffers moments of confusion. – AFP