Podcaster Joe Rogan raised the idea of former first lady Michelle Obama running for president last week, and seemed to suggest that the wife of America’s 44th president was the Democratic Party’s best hope to stave off another White House takeover by Donald Trump.
Mr Rogan released an episode of The Joe Rogan Experience on Christmas Eve with stand-up comedian Tim Dillon, during which the two speculated about who would win the 2024 Democratic Party nomination for president.
During the discussion, Mr Rogan cast doubt on the idea that President Joe Biden would run for reelection, despite the president’s public and private assurances to the contrary. The two speculated about Mr Biden’s recent performances taking questions from the media, and suggested that the president’s mental faculties were declining.
“He took questions the other day, they started asking him about tests. And he just kept saying the same thing, ‘Nobody saw this coming. This Omicron.’ And it goes on for like five or six minutes. And as it goes on you’re like, oh, my God, he’s gone. He’s worse than he was a month ago. He keeps getting worse,” said the host.
“He’s progressively declining, it seems,” suggests Mr Dillon.
“Yeah,” Mr Rogan says in agreement.
The two then speculate about a potential bid by Ms Obama and Vice President Kamala Harris in 2024, with Mr Dillon accusing the White House team of trying to “ice out” Ms Harris with negative stories in the press, apparently in the hopes of avoiding rising pressure for Mr Biden to step aside.
“Michelle Obama, and they’re going to bring Harris,” Mr Rogan said.
He later added: “She's intelligent, she's articulate, she's the wife of the best president that we have had in our lifetime in terms of like a representative of intelligent, articulate people. She could win," while hedging his comments on the assumption that Ms Obama would not support calls for Covid-related restrictions like lockdowns or mandates for masks or vaccines.
“I really believe, if Michelle Obama runs, she wins,” he added.
The comments come as there has been continued reports coming out of the White House of dissatisfaction among members of Ms Harris’s team, and ongoing speculation about whether Mr Biden will run in 2024. He was already the oldest president to ever take office when he did so in 2021 at the age of 78.
Ms Obama has long been touted by various individuals in the media and Democratic circles as a potential candidate for office due to her popularity in opinion polls. She has repeatedly expressed, however, that she has no political ambitions of her own.
Ms Harris ran for president in 2020, and competed in a crowded Democratic primary alongside Mr Biden and many others, though her campaign ended without winning a single state. She was credited with a particularly standout debate performance after a moment in which she sharply questioned Mr Biden’s past opposition to busing, a tactic for racially integrating local school systems.
Both Mr Biden and Ms Harris face worrisome approval ratings heading in to the 2022 midterm election season, and face the prospect next year of seeing one or both houses of Congress change hands to Republican control.
Former President Donald Trump has remained steadfast in his refusal to admit his defeat in the 2020 election and has continued to spread false claims about fraud that was supposedly widespread during last year’s election, despite federal agencies and state-led recounts finding otherwise.
He remains the widespread favourite to win the 2024 GOP nomination for president should he choose to run again, though a number of other likely primary contenders have also emerged in the months since his brand was damaged when his supporters led an attack on the US Capitol.
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