President Joe Biden turns 81 years old on Monday. He was 78 when he became the oldest presidential candidate to be elected, and last November became the only president in American history to turn 80 while in office. On average, presidents have been 55 years old when they have taken their oath of office.
If reelected, Biden would be 82 years old at the beginning of his second term, and 86 at the end of the term, should he survive until January, 2029, the end of the next term.
At the same time, former President Donald Trump is no spring chicken. He is 77 years old, and will turn 78 in June, the same age that Biden was when he became president in 2020. Trump is the Republican’s leading contender for nomination to the 2024 General Election ballot.
According to the White House physician’s report, issued in February, “President Biden remains a healthy, vigorous, 80-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency, to include those as Chief Executive, Head of State and Commander in Chief.” But old age is quickly becoming his biggest achievement, and it comes up time and again as a national security concern.
Biden is increasingly seen as a liability to down-ballot candidates. Even the Alaska Democratic Party has stopped referring to him in any of their communications, and in swing states, Democrat candidates are not requesting Biden’s endorsement or appearances at campaign events.
David Axelrod, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama, posted on X/Twitter: “What he [Biden] needs to decide is whether that is wise; whether it’s in HIS best interest or the country’s?” adding that “the stakes of miscalculation here are too dramatic to ignore.”
In an interview with columnist Maureen Dowd of the New York Times, Axelrod said, “I don’t care about them thinking I’m a prick — that’s fine,” Axelrod told Dowd, responding to reports that Biden had called Axelrod a prick. “I hope they don’t think the polls are wrong, because they’re not.”
Axelrod also said the president has a real problem if he thinks he can “cheat nature.”
Biden already has set the record for the oldest president to be elected. The top 20 list shows that Donald J. Trump was the second-oldest, followed by Ronald Reagan:
|1||46||Joe Biden||78 years 61 days|
|2||45||Donald J. Trump||70 years 220 days|
|3||40||Ronald Reagan||69 years 348 days|
|4||9||William Henry Harrison||68 years 23 days|
|5||15||James Buchanan||65 years 315 days|
|6||41||George H. W. Bush||64 years 222 days|
|7||12||Zachary Taylor||64 years 100 days|
|8||34||Dwight D. Eisenhower||62 years 98 days|
|9||7||Andrew Jackson||61 years 354 days|
|10||2||John Adams||61 years 125 days|
|11||38||Gerald R. Ford||61 years 26 days|
|12||33||Harry S. Truman||60 years 339 days|
|13||5||James Monroe||58 years 310 days|
|14||4||James Madison||57 years 353 days|
|15||3||Thomas Jefferson||57 years 325 days|
|16||6||John Quincy Adams||57 years 236 days|
|17||1||George Washington||57 years 68 days|
|18||17||Andrew Johnson||56 years 107 days|
|19||28||Woodrow Wilson||56 years 66 days|
|20||37||Richard M. Nixon||56 years 11 days|
The youngest president ever sworn in was Theodore Roosevelt, who was nearly 43 when he became president; he had been vice president to William McKinley, who was assassinated on Sept. 14, 1901.
In general, the age of presidents has continued to get older, although Barack Obama was 47, and Bill Clinton was 46 at the time of their inaugurations.