Joe BidenPhoto: Cliff Owen, AP
Vice President Joe Biden told reporters Monday night that he is running for president in 2020.
If he backs up his words with an actual campaign, Biden would be 77 years old on Election Day 2020, by far the oldest person ever to run for a major-party presidential nomination, and turn 78 a few weeks later. Ronald Reagan was 74 when he left office in 1989. Donald Trump is now 70.
Biden’s comments came following his visit to the U.S. Senate Monday evening, where Biden, in his role as vice president, presided as president of the Senate for a crucial vote, and where he had previously served as a senator from Delaware for decades. Asked more than once if he was making a joke or if he was serious, Biden, who just turned 74 last month, emphatically stated he was serious, but did throw in an escape clause:
“I learned a long time ago, fate has a strange way of intervening.”
Biden chose to not run in 2016 following the death of his son, Beau Biden, from brain cancer. And in October he made it clear to CNN that was the only reason:
“I didn’t run for one simple overarching reason. My son was dying and he died,” Biden told CNN. “I didn’t not run because Hillary’s running. I didn’t run because my son’s not here.”
The cancer provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act, which is expected to pass in the Senate, was renamed for Beau Biden, who like his father was a strong LGBTQ advocate for many years. In 2012, the vice president proclaimed transgender rights “the civil rights issue of our time,” and came out in favor of marriage equality two weeks before President Obama or former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.