Former Vice President Joe Biden is indicating to possible campaign contributors he is seriously considering running for president in 2020 – but only if it’s against the current president, Donald Trump, because of the relatively small age difference between the two men, FOX Business has learned.
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Biden has made these remarks recently in private meetings with possible Democratic contributors, many of them Wall Street executives with long ties to the former vice president under Barack Obama, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.
These people say that Biden hasn't fully made up his mind for a presidential run, and even if Trump does seek a re-election, he may ultimately decide he’s had enough of presidential politics since he has sought the nomination three times during his long career in public office. Even so, friends say running for the Oval Office continues to animate him and that he is indicating that there’s a good chance he would do so if Trump seeks a second term. If Trump decided not to run, or faced a possible younger primary challenger, such as 65-year-old Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Biden will have second thoughts about running, these people add.
A spokesman for Biden said “we are focused on the 2018” midterm elections where the Democrats hope to gain the majority in Congress, adding that the former vice president “hasn’t made a decision” on the 2020 presidential election. He didn't deny the substance of what the former vice president is discussing with these people.
Biden, who is 75, would be close to 78, and the oldest person to seek the presidency in U.S. history (Ronald Reagan ran for re-election in 1984 at the age of 73) if he ran in 2020. Trump is currently 71 years old and would be 74 if he sought a second term.
It’s the four-year difference that associates of Biden say the former vice president believes would not make his age a campaign issue, coupled with running against Trump, who despite some recent improvement, has had historically high disapproval ratings attributed largely to his volatile personality, and polarizing comments.
"If Trump runs, Biden is suggesting he's likely to do it because age won't be a factor," one person close to Biden told FOX Business. “He also thinks he can beat Trump.”
As of now, Trump has indicated he will seek re-election as a Republican; he recently announced that Brad Parscale, the digital media director of the successful 2016 campaign, will be running his 2020 re-election efforts.
That said, friends of Trump speculate incessantly about whether he wants to serve a second term amid the constant swirl of controversy that has surrounded his presidency, from the special counsel investigation into possible Russian meddling in the 2016 election to his unconventional leadership style that includes almost daily rounds of statements, often delivered on Twitter, that have rankled the Washington establishment.
People close to Trump say while winning the presidency has fulfilled a life-long dream, he misses his old life as a celebrity businessman where he was free to spend time at his Palm Beach country club Mar-a-Lago, without being second-guessed by the media.
"If you told me tomorrow Donald wanted to call it quits after one term, I would believe you," said one friend of the president.
Through his long political career as a U.S. senator and Obama’s vice president, Biden has been known to make blunt, sometimes politically incorrect comments that can also ruffle feathers.
Still, Biden is said to believe Trump’s personal negatives outweigh his own. He also is said to have his doubts about Trump running for re-election, people familiar with the matter tell FOX Business, which is one reason Biden has made a series of vague statements about his own 2020 intentions.
Maybe the best thing Biden has going for him is that he still enjoys the support of many Wall Street financiers who are urging him to run and telling him they would gladly raise money for his candidacy.
They believe Biden can do what the 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton could not and unite the various factions of the party and attract working-class white voters that Trump peeled away during the last election to pull a surprise victory. Biden has also made no secret that he believes he would have been a stronger challenger to Trump in 2016, and that he decided against running largely because of the death of his son Beau Biden in 2015.
"Trump is in the same age bracket as Biden, so if he seeks re-election, it makes it highly likely Biden runs because age is a non-factor," said long-time Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf. "Biden also would shut a lot of other Democrats out if he jumped in because there are currently no favorites and he can unite all wings of the party – he has tremendous party loyalty. Most of all he can raise the money."
A White House spokeswoman had no immediate comment.