DeSantis says Biden’s and Trump’s ages are a ‘legitimate concern’

Author: Melissa Quinn (CBS)
Published: Updated:
Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a fundraising event for Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, Aug. 6, 2023, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. DeSantis is dismissing concerns about his latest staffing shakeup as he returns to Iowa in the midst of a weekslong campaign reset. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday that the ages of President Biden and former President Donald Trump are “absolutely a legitimate concern” for voters in the 2024 presidential race and believes Americans will be ready for the next generation of leadership if he is the GOP’s pick to face-off against Mr. Biden in the general election.

“The presidency is not a job for someone that’s 80 years old,” DeSantis, a GOP candidate for president, told “CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Norah O’Donnell. “And there’s nothing, you know, wrong with being 80. Obviously I’m the governor of Florida. I know a lot of people who are elderly. They’re great people. But you’re talking about a job where you need to give it 100%. We need an energetic president.”

Noting that many political leaders in Washington are 75 years old or older, DeSantis also suggested that the Founders, if given another chance, “probably would’ve put an age limit on some of these offices.”

“I think Americans — if Biden’s the Democrat nominee, I’m the Republican nominee — I think there’s going to be a lot of Americans that are going to want to see a generational passing of the torch,” he said.

Age has become a growing focal point of the 2024 campaign, since Mr. Biden is 80 and Trump, the current frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, is 77.

DeSantis, who will turn 45 on Thursday, and several of his other Republican opponents have sought to use the age gaps between themselves and Mr. Biden and Trump to their benefit, arguing the nation needs a president with vigor and that it’s time for a new generation to take charge in Washington.

A CBS News poll published Sunday found that 80% of Americans believe elected officials older than 75 risk being out of touch with the times, and 78% have concerns about their ability to perform their job. More than half of Americans polled, 53%, believe the presidency is too demanding for someone over the age of 75.

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