Harris Acknowledges Potential Presidency Role If Biden Faces Health Challenges

During a recent interview, Vice President Kamala Harris conveyed her preparedness to carry out her constitutional responsibility of taking on the presidency should President Biden encounter challenges governing due to concerns about his health and age.

Biden, who is currently 80 years old and set to turn 81 in November, holds the distinction of being the oldest serving president in U.S. history. Should Democrats secure victory in the 2024 elections, he would be 82 when inaugurated for a potential second term, and 86 by its conclusion. While Harris referred to the idea of stepping into the role of president as “hypothetical,” she emphasized her preparedness for the responsibility.

Speaking from Jakarta, Indonesia, where she attended a regional summit, Harris assured, “Joe Biden is going to be fine, so that is not going to come to fruition. But let us also understand that every vice president ā€” every vice president ā€” understands that when they take the oath, they must be very clear about the responsibility they may have to take over the job of being president.” She added, “Iā€™m no different.”

Despite concerns about Biden’s age, Harris dismissed such worries, asserting that she sees Biden’s capabilities firsthand. “I see him every day,” she remarked. “A substantial amount of time we spend together is in the Oval Office, where I see how his ability to understand issues and navigate complex matters plays out, enabling him to make smart and important decisions on behalf of the American people.”

Addressing her own qualifications, Harris emphasized that the American people prioritize effective governance. “And so I will say to you that I think the American people ultimately want to know that their president delivers. And Joe Biden delivers.”

Harris, who ran for the presidency in 2020 but withdrew after the Democratic primary debates, also spoke about her experience as a former prosecutor. She argued that former President Trump should be held accountable for the events on January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol and the efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. Drawing from her career as the San Francisco district attorney and California’s attorney general, Harris underscored the importance of upholding the law and ensuring accountability when it is breached.

In the context of the 2024 presidential election, with Trump as a leading contender for the Republican nomination, both Biden and Harris have voiced concerns about the state of American democracy. Harris stressed the fragility of democracies and the necessity of defending them.

Currently, Harris is representing the United States at a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. President Biden’s absence from the event drew some disappointment, although the White House emphasized his commitment to the region, a sentiment echoed by Harris in her interview.

Regarding her approval ratings, Harris has faced persistent challenges, with low approval ratings during her vice presidency. An NBC News poll even found that she holds the lowest rating for any vice president in the poll’s history. Only 32% of registered voters view Harris positively, compared to 49% with a negative view, and 39% with a “very negative view.”