Vice President Kamala Harris told the Wall Street Journal that she is “ready to serve” as president amid growing concerns about President Joe Biden’s physical and mental state.
The interview was conducted two days after Special Counsel Robert Hur found Biden, 81, had mishandled classified documents but should not be charged, at least partly, because of his failing memory.
The report described him as an “elderly man with a poor memory” and “diminished faculties.”
The WSJ asked Harris, “Do voters’ concerns about President Biden’s age mean she must convince them she is ready to serve?”
“I am ready to serve. There’s no question about that,” Harris responded. She added that everyone who sees her on the job “walks away fully aware of my capacity to lead.”
The report noted that the discussion about Harris having to take over has now become a public conversation.
“There was always going to be a lot of scrutiny and pressure on her in the 2024 campaign, and that moment’s here now,” Jennifer Palmieri, who worked in the Obama and Clinton administrations and for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, told the newspaper. “I think that the special counsel’s report has sort of accelerated that moment.”
Harris has been on the campaign trail in recent weeks pushing a pro-abortion message.
The report noted, “Ahead of the re-election campaign, Democrats privately expressed concerns about Harris’s place on the ticket, portraying her as a liability. Her backers maintain that Harris, the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, has been held to a different standard from past vice presidents, including Biden. Many now acknowledge Harris is on a firmer footing campaigning on abortion access, but they still aren’t convinced she should be anointed as the party’s future leader.”
Over the weekend, the New York Times published an opinion piece calling for Biden to step aside and allow another Democrat to run in 2024.
“Joe Biden should not be running for re-election,” the article began. “That much was obvious well before the special prosecutor’s comments on the president’s memory lapses inspired a burst of age-related angst. And Democrats who are furious at the prosecutor have to sense that it will become only more obvious as we move deeper into an actual campaign.”
The article suggested that Biden should continue to campaign “until August and the convention, when he would shock the world by announcing his withdrawal from the race, decline to issue any endorsement, and invite the convention delegates to choose his replacement.”
Biden is currently 81 years old. He would be 82 by the time that he took the oath for a second term.