Though Republicans have long knocked President Joe Biden for his age, their concerns seemingly vanished as Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell faced his second freeze-up last week.
As Biden, 80, seeks reelection in 2024, both legislators and voters alike have expressed concern about the president's age, and how it impacts his ability to do his job. A poll from the Wall Street Journal earlier this week found that an overwhelming 73 percent of registered voters believe Biden is too old to run again, while 60 percent said they believe he isn’t “mentally up for the job.”
Though leading Republican candidate and former president Donald Trump is just a few years younger at 77, and McConnell himself is older than Biden at 81, the two seemed to have skirted questions of competency from many of their conservative constituents.
Mitch McConnell Freezes
However, some Republicans have noticed the double standard that many of their colleagues have expressed. Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri recently called out those in his party who have attacked the president while supporting McConnell.
“Am I concerned about his health? Yeah, I am. I’m concerned about the president’s health. ... [but] I don’t think you can have it both ways,” he told told NBC .“I mean, if you’re concerned about the president’s ability to do his job — and I am, and a lot of Republicans say they are — then you’ve got to be concerned when it’s somebody from your own party, right?”
Some lawmakers have called for both parties to put their weight behind younger candidates, including Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, who told the outlet "I think we’d all be better off if we had younger people, the next generation."
"I had hoped that we’d have a new generation who’d be running for president on the Democrat side and the Republican side,” he said. “I wish both of the leaders — both Trump and Biden — were going to stand aside and let a new person come in, but they’re not doing that.”
Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota, who has criticized both Biden and Trump for their refusal to step down, echoed Romney's sentiment while pointing out the GOP's hypocrisy.
“You can’t have it both ways. Risk is directly correlated to age, and it’s unreasonable to apply that lens to President Biden without doing so to Senator McConnell and former President Trump,” he said.