President Biden made a bold prediction in the early 1990s that he would be “dead and gone” by 2020 — the year he actually ran against then-President Donald Trump in the presidential election.
The remarks from Biden came in 1991 during a speech at the Detroit College of Law amid his tenure as a U.S. senator from Delaware — a post he held for more than 35 years.
Speaking to law students at the time about the importance of selecting Supreme Court justices, Biden, who was around 50 at the time, said, “The decision will affect what happens in this country long after Senator Biden is gone, long after President Bush is gone, long after President Reagan’s administrations are forgotten.”
“If they live — if Justice [David] Souter, God willing, lives as long as the average age of the court now, he’ll be making landmark decisions in the year 2020. I’ll be dead and gone in all probability,” added then-Sen. Biden, who will turn 81 this November.
Biden’s comments in the footage, which was resurfaced by the New York Post, revealed that he was wrong on both counts. Souter — after nearly 20 years of service to the high court — retired in 2009, and Biden is still alive today.
Should Biden win re-election next year, he will be 86 by the end of his second term in office. With his age being on the minds of Americans, Biden has faced concerns over his ability to lead the nation — some from his own party even — as he grows older.
Last year, Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips, a Democrat, suggested it is time for Biden to gracefully retire.
“I think he’s done a wonderful job of being the bridge that he promised to be,” Phillips told the Wall Street Journal. “The issue is that it is just time for a new generation of leaders to participate.”
“You can see the differences between how he used to be and how he is now,” Liano Sharon, a Democratic National Committee delegate told the outlet, adding that Biden has “lost a step.”
Biden, amid numerous gaffes and mishaps, admitted last October that questions about his age are “totally legitimate.”
“I think it’s a legitimate thing to be concerned about anyone’s age, including mine. That’s totally legitimate. But I think the best way to make the judgment is to, you know, watch me. Am I slowing up? Am I – don’t have the same pace?” Biden said in an interview with MSNBC.
Earlier this month, during a trip to Lithuania to shore up support for Ukraine amid its war with Russia, Biden committed multiple speaking gaffes, including confusing the two nations and their leaders.
Biden referred to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as “Vladmir,” seemingly confusing Zelenskyy with Russian President Vladmir Putin.
Appearing not to realize his mistake, Biden went on to say he “shouldn’t be so familiar,” and referred to Zelenskyy as “Mr. Zelenskyy.”
At a later speaking event following the summit, Biden confused the two nations, referring to Ukraine as Russia.
“Russia could end this war tomorrow by withdrawing its forces from Ukraine and recognizing its international borders and ceasing its attacks – its inhumane attacks — on Russia — I mean by Russia on Ukraine,” Biden said, correcting himself.
In a different interview with the outlet in May, Biden attempted to ease concerns about his age by framing his 80 years of life experience as a positive rather than a negative.
“Because I have acquired a hell of a lot of wisdom,” Biden told MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle when he was asked “why an 82-year-old Biden” would be the “right person for the most important job in the world” in 2024.
“I know more than the vast majority of people. I’m more experienced than anybody who has ever run for the office and I think I’ve proven myself to be honorable as well as also effective,” he said at the time.
Biden is the oldest person ever to hold the office of president, and he will be nearly 82 on Election Day in 2024.
Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom, Andrew Mark Miller, and Brandon Gillespie contributed to this report.