(WASHINGTON) — A leading House Democrat on Wednesday backtracked on comments she made Tuesday that she doubts President Joe Biden will renew his bid for the presidency in 2024 — a highly unusual break from the party’s standard-bearer.
The White House has said repeatedly Biden intends to run for reelection.
When asked during a debate if he should run again, New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who is currently seeking reelection for the Empire State’s 12th Congressional District, told debate moderators from NY1: “I don’t believe he’s running.”
Maloney is in a hotly contested primary, in part due to redistricting that pits her against another Capitol Hill veteran, Rep. Jerry Nadler. The pair face off on Aug. 23.
Nadler told debate moderators on Tuesday that it was “too early to say” if Biden would run again in 2024, adding that such speculation “doesn’t serve the purpose of the Democratic Party to deal with that until after the midterms.”
Maloney’s answer was quickly seized on by the Republican National Committee and circulated on social media.
Maloney is no political novice. The chair of the House Oversight Committee has served in Congress for nearly 30 years, and her prognosis of Biden’s prospects are at odds with some others in the party: The Democratic National Committee and the White House — as well as congressional leaders like Sen. Chuck Schumer — have aligned on another potential Biden-Kamala Harris ticket. The president previously told ABC News’ David Muir that he would run as long as his health remained good.
Maloney tweaked her remarks somewhat Wednesday morning, tweeting that she would “absolutely support President Biden, if he decides to run for re-election.”
“Biden’s leadership securing historic investments for healthcare, climate & economic justice prove once again why he is the strong and effective leader we need right now,” she said.
Still, Maloney is not alone in her reservations: Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., recently told local media that he doesn’t believe Biden should seek a second term. “I think the country would be well-served by a new generation of compelling, well-prepared, dynamic Democrats to step up,” Phillips said.
Later, in a statement to The Minnesota Star Tribune, he added: “Under no condition can we afford another four years of Donald Trump, and while Joe Biden was clearly the right candidate at the right time two years ago, it’s my hope that both major parties put forward new candidates of principle, civility, and integrity in 2024.”
Minnesota House colleague Angie Craig then cited Phillips this week when she said that there needs to be a “new generation of leadership.”
At 79, Biden is the oldest-ever serving president — breaking a record set by his predecessor, Donald Trump, now 76.
Biden last month defended his popularity among Democrats, telling ABC News that a New York Times/Siena College poll showing a majority of his party preferring another 2024 nominee also found that 92% of Democrats said they’d vote for him in another race with Trump.
And among all voters, the poll found, Biden would best Trump 44% to 41%.
Biden told ABC News in December that the prospect of such a rematch was appealing.
“You’re trying to tempt me now,” Biden told Muir then, laughing. “Why would I not run against Donald Trump for the nominee?” he added. “That’ll increase the prospect of running.”
Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.