President Joe Biden on Wednesday said he planned to run again for the presidency in 2024 if he was still in good health, teasing a possible rematch against former President Donald Trump as all the more reason why he should run.
In an interview with ABC "World News Tonight" anchor David Muir, Biden discussed his future political plans and what he planned to do to address the coronavirus pandemic, particularly as the omicron variant fuels yet another spike in COVID-19 cases.
Biden said that as long as his health remained intact — the president celebrated his 79th birthday last month and is the oldest person to have assumed office — he would seek reelection in 2024.
When asked if a possible rematch against his felled 2020 opponent, Trump, would affect his decision, Biden said with a laugh: "You're trying to tempt me now."
"Sure. Why would I not run against Donald Trump for the nominee? That'll increase the prospect of running," he said.
The ABC interview came as cases of COVID-19 are once again rising, fueled primarily by the omicron variant of the virus.
Biden on Tuesday outlined his plan to deal with the mounting threat, including more aid for hospitals and a federal government purchase of half a billion at-home tests to provide to households that want them, with shipments beginning in January.
Biden acknowledged to ABC that "nothing's been good enough" in the nation's response to testing for the virus, but hailed his administration's efforts to get as many Americans as possible fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19.
"Last Christmas, we were in a situation where we had significantly fewer vaccinated — people vaccinated — emergency rooms were filled," he said. "You had serious backups in hospitals that were causing great difficulties. We're in a situation now where we have 200 million people fully vaccinated. Two-hundred million people fully vaccinated. And we have more than that who have had one shot — at least one shot. And they're getting these booster shots as well."
Biden said he didn't view the long lines for testing and empty shelves for at-home tests as a failure, but he admitted some regret about not ordering the distribution of at-home tests more quickly.
"You could argue that we should have known a year ago, six months ago, two months ago, a month ago," he told ABC.
He said he wished he "had thought about ordering" the 500 million tests for distribution two months ago.
The White House has faced sharp criticism for declining to do just that.
In a heated exchange with an NPR reporter earlier this month, when asked why the United States hadn't followed the lead of other developed nations and made testing free and easily available, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki asked wryly: "Should we just send one to every American?"
That is essentially what the new Biden strategy will do.
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
Your support matters.
You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.