Biden says he’d be ‘very fortunate’ to have Trump run against him in 2024

President said he was spurred to challenge his predecessor by 2017’s deadly far-right rally in Charlottesville

Andrew Naughtie
Friday 25 March 2022 15:49
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Biden says he’d be ‘fortunate’ to run against Trump again

Asked about the next US presidential election at a press conference in Brussels, Joe Biden said he would feel “fortunate” to run against Donald Trump again, even as European governments worry that the 45th president could return to the White House.

Reflecting on his own standing among world leaders – even as his domestic approval ratings remain low – Mr Biden remarked that the US’s reputation had recovered quickly since Mr Trump put its crucial western alliances under severe strain. He was asked by a reporter from the German magazine Der Spiegel whether he feared his commitments to Nato could be overturned should Mr Trump be re-elected in 2024.

“One of the things that I take some solace from,” he said, “is I don’t think you’ll find any European leader who thinks that I am not up to the job.

“And I mean that sincerely… At the first G7 meeting I attended, like the one I did today, was in Great Britain, and I sat down and I said ‘America is back’. And one of my counterparts, colleagues as head of state said, ‘For how long? For how long?’

“I don’t blame, criticise anybody for asking that question. But the next election, I’d be very fortunate if I had that same man running against me.”

While Mr Biden’s ratings among the American people are stuck at severe lows, having begun a steep decline with the withdrawal from Afghanistan, there are hopes among Democrats that Mr Trump’s behaviour both in office and since he left could galvanise voters against the Republican Party should he top the ticket in 2024.

Mr Biden also explained that his decision to run against Mr Trump in 2020 was spurred by the deadly Unite the Right protest in Charlottesville, which saw far-right groups and outright neo-Nazis fighting in the street with anti-racist counter-protesters. In the course of the event, one white supremacist protester drove his car into a crowd, injuring 35 people and killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

“I made a determination: Nothing is worth, no election is worth my not doing exactly what I think is the right thing,” said Mr Biden. “Not a joke. I’m too long in the tooth to fool with this any longer.

“And so, we’re a long way off in elections – a long way off. My focus of any election is on making sure that we retain the House and the United States Senate so that I have the room to continue to do the things that I’ve been able to do in terms of grow the economy and deal in a rational way with American foreign policy and … be the leader of the free world.

“So it’s not an illogical question for someone to ask. I say to people at home: Imagine if we sat and watched the doors of the Bundestag broken down and police officers killed and hundreds of people storming in, or imagine if we saw that happening in the British Parliament or whatever. How would we feel?”

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