President Joe Biden turns 80 years old on Sunday, becoming the first octogenarian to ever serve in the highest office of the United States.
The unique milestone of Biden’s birthday comes as the president faces speculation about whether he will mount a reelection run and dredges up questions about whether he’s too old to serve another term.
The president is celebrating his birthday in Washington with a brunch hosted by first lady Jill Biden, according to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. Members of Biden’s family already in town
celebrating his granddaughter’s wedding at the White House on Saturday are expected to be in attendance.
The wedding’s timing, two people familiar with the planning had told CNN, was not a coincidence – noting the “age issue” is never something Biden wants to highlight.
The president has political momentum on his side ahead of a potential reelection bid – having been able to maintain a Democratic majority in the Senate and thwart the historical political tides of a resounding Republican wave in Congress. There was also the lukewarm political support his slightly younger predecessor, Donald Trump, received when he announced his recent decision to run for president in 2024.
But Biden has not been able to shake voters’ apprehensions about his age, with rhetorical
gaffes and literal stumbles at times reinforcing concerns about his health and mental acuity.
health care overhaul was passed in March 2009. It was the biggest expansion of health care guarantees in more than four decades, and it represented a significant step toward the goal of universal coverage, which had been sought by every Democratic President since Harry Truman.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
the mission against Osama bin Laden in May 2011. (Editor’s note: The classified document in front of Hillary Clinton was obscured by the White House.)” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
fierce resistance to new gun legislation thwarted nearly all of the administration’s plans.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
that went viral on social media.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
his signature aviator sunglasses as he addresses graduating students at Yale University in May 2015.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
died at the age of 46 after a battle with brain cancer.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
Democratic National Convention in July 2016.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
surprises Obama on his birthday in August 2016.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
Watch CNN’s Jeanne Moos on the “endless embrace” ” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
greets Ruth Bonner, a 99-year-old daughter of a young slave who escaped to freedom, as he and his wife attend the September 2016 opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
they had lunch in Washington, DC, in November 2016.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
surprises him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in January 2017. “For your faith in your fellow Americans, for your love of country and for your lifetime of service that will endure through the generations, I’d like to ask the military aide to join us on stage,” Obama said in the ceremony. “For my final time as President, I am pleased to award our nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.” ” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
addressed the question head-on. “Guys, I’m not running!” he said with a smile, as the audience in the hotel ballroom booed in response.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
he would be running for president for a third time.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
went after Biden over his early-career opposition to federally mandated busing. “I did not oppose busing in America,” Biden told Harris. “What I opposed is busing ordered by the Department of Education.”” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
calling him a “damn liar” after the man accused Biden of sending his son to Ukraine “to get a job and work for a gas company, that he had no experience with gas, nothing.” Hunter Biden served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company while his father was vice president. He said recently he used “poor judgment” in serving on the board of the company while his father was pushing anti-corruption measures in Ukraine on behalf of the US government, but he added that he didn’t do anything improper. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
The exchange was aired as part of the Times’ TV series “The Weekly,” and was circulated on social media. In August 2020, Brittany gave the first speech officially nominating Biden for president at the Democratic National Convention. “I take powerful people up on my elevator all the time,” Brittany said. “When they get off, they go to their important meetings. Me, I just head back to the lobby. But in the short time I spent with Joe Biden, I could tell he really saw me. That he actually cared, that my life meant something to him. And I knew even when he went into his important meeting, he’d take my story in there with him.” Biden responded on Twitter: “Jacquelyn: Your nomination means the world to me. Thank you — and I hope you know: we love you back.”” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
winning the South Carolina primary in February 2020. “Just days ago, the press and pundits had declared this candidacy dead,” Biden said in his speech to supporters. “Because of you, the heart of the Democratic Party, we just won and we won big because of you. We are very much alive.”” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
endorses him for president in March 2020. Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, had just dropped out of the Democratic race.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
testy exchange about gun rights as he tours a Fiat Chrysler assembly plant in Detroit in March 2020. A man confronted Biden and accused the former vice president of trying to “take away our guns.” Biden responded, “You’re full of s***” and tried to clarify his policies, saying he supports the Second Amendment. ” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
their one-on-one debate in Washington, DC, in March 2020. The two Democrats went with an elbow bump instead of a handshake because of the coronavirus pandemic. Sanders ended his presidential campaign the following month, clearing Biden’s path to the Democratic nomination.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
denied a former aide’s claims that he sexually assaulted her 27 years ago. “This never happened,” Biden said of Tara Reade’s allegation. In an interview with MSNBC, Biden said he did not know why Reade was now making the allegation.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
In a CNN interview, Biden called President Donald Trump “an absolute fool” for sharing a tweet that mocked him for wearing a mask.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
pledged to take steps to combat institutional racism and re-establish a police oversight body at the Justice Department.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
The talking points fueled fresh speculation about Harris’ standing as a possible running mate.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
their first campaign event as a presidential ticket.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
accepts the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination during a speech at the Democratic National Convention. “This campaign isn’t just about winning votes,” Biden said. “It is about winning the heart and, yes, the soul of America.”” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
Democratic National Convention in August 2020. They are joined on stage by Biden’s wife, Jill, and Harris’ husband, Douglas Emhoff.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
a careful approach to campaigning.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
separate town halls instead of debating each other in a town-hall format. The schedule change came about after Trump was diagnosed with the coronavirus. The Commission on Presidential Debates proposed a virtual debate, but Trump refused to take part and Biden went ahead with plans for his own town hall. Trump’s campaign later arranged its own town hall — on a different network, during the same hour.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
their first debate quickly descended into a glorified shouting match, the Commission on Presidential Debates instituted an unprecedented change this time around: The candidates had their microphones cut off while their opponent responded to the first question of each of the debate’s six segments.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
Biden told supporters at a drive-in rally in Wilmington, Delaware. “I’m not here to declare that we have won. But I am here to report when the count is finished, we believe we will be the winners.”” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
tweeted this photo after her husband was projected as the winner of the presidential race. “He will be a President for all of our families,” she said.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
he was nominating to join his national security and foreign policy team. “It’s a team that will keep our country and our people safe and secure,” Biden said. “And it’s a team that reflects the fact that America is back, ready to lead the world, not retreat from it.”” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
after the US Capitol was breached in January 2021. Biden was planning to deliver a speech on the economy, but he scrapped his speech and instead addressed the chaos and violence in Washington, DC. He said the rioting amounted to an “unprecedented assault” on US democracy. “This is not dissent. It’s disorder. It’s chaos,” he said. “It borders on sedition, and it must end now.”” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
his inauguration in January 2021.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
longstanding tradition of Presidents and their families bringing their pets with them to the White House. Champ died in June 2021 at the age of 13.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
withdraw American troops from Afghanistan before September 11. “I am now the fourth American president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan. Two Republicans. Two Democrats,” Biden said. “I will not pass this responsibility to a fifth.”” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
Biden’s speech focused on the administration’s accomplishments thus far and unveiled key components of his next legislative push.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
met with former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter at the Carters’ home in Plains, Georgia, in April 2021. The photo grabbed people’s attention on social media because of what appeared to be a significant size difference between the two couples. While many experts theorized that it was the result of a wide-angle lens, Adam Schultz, the chief official White House photographer, declined to explain when reached by The New York Times.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
a summit between Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin in June 2021. Seated from left are US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Biden, Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The summit, held in Geneva, Switzerland, was the first meeting of Biden and Putin since Biden was elected President.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
Biden traveled to Surfside to console families still waiting on news of their loved ones. Their meetings were closed to the press.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
a suicide bombing in Afghanistan that killed Afghan civilians and US service members in August 2021. The terror group ISIS-K, which rivals the Taliban in Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for the bombing. “We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay,” he said.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
lay out the framework of his economic plan and make his case for it.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
his trip to the Vatican in October 2021. Between them is Italian translator Elisabetta Savigni Ullmann. It was the fourth meeting between Francis and Biden, but their first since Biden became President. Biden, a devout lifelong Catholic, met with the Pope for 90 minutes and said he discussed “a lot of personal things” with the pontiff.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
bipartisan infrastructure bill into law during a White House ceremony in November 2021. The $1.2 trillion legislation focuses on infrastructure such as roads and bridges.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
the President had tested positive for Covid-19.” class=”image_gallery-image__dam-img”/>
Biden would be an unprecedented 86 years old by the end of his second term if he were to run and win his reelection. By comparison, some of the oldest past living presidents still had years on Biden – Trump left office at the age of 74 and Ronald Reagan left office after his two terms at 77 years old.
The president, for his part, maintains that voters concerned about his age should see his record of accomplishments since taking office.
“Well, they’re concerned about whether or not I can get anything done. Look what I’ve gotten done,” Biden
told CNN’s Jake Tapper in October. “Name me a president in recent history that’s gotten done as much as I have in their first two years.”
last month that while he has not made a formal decision about running for reelection in 2024, it is his “intention” to do so. But he’s long said it’s a decision both he and his family will decide on together. And Saturday’s wedding marks a kickoff of sorts for the tight-knit Bidens to begin earnest discussions over whether their patriarch should seek a second term.
And the president isn’t the only Washington power reckoning with pressures to bow out. On the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, Nancy Pelosi, 82, recently announced plans to step down as House speaker, celebrating Democrats ushering in a new generation of leadership. And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, 80,
faced his first challenger to lead the Republican conference in 15 years – though that challenge was unsuccessful.