The age of presidential candidates has become a prominent issue in the 2024 race, with President Joe Biden at 80 years old and former President Donald Trump at 77. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is 44, has positioned himself as the younger alternative to both Biden and Trump. He believes that the ages of the two frontrunners are a “legitimate concern” for voters and that Americans will be ready for a new generation of leadership if he becomes the GOP’s nominee to face off against Biden in the general election.
DeSantis has previously made age an issue in his campaign, particularly targeting Biden’s advanced age. However, this is the first time he has directly addressed concerns over Trump’s slightly younger age. He believes that if he were to become the Republican nominee, he could use his age to his advantage against Biden. If elected, DeSantis would be the third-youngest president ever, behind Teddy Roosevelt and JFK.
DeSantis is not alone in emphasizing the age gaps between himself and the two frontrunners. Several of his Republican opponents have also highlighted the need for a new generation of leadership and the importance of having a president with vigor. They argue that it is time for a change and for younger leaders to take charge in Washington.
During an interview with CBS Evening News, DeSantis expressed his concerns about having an 80-year-old president. He stated that while there is nothing wrong with being elderly, the presidency requires someone who can give it 100% and be energetic. He believes that if the Founding Fathers were here today, they would have included age limits for elected officials in the Constitution.
DeSantis also mentioned that if he were to become the Republican nominee and face off against Biden in the general election, many Americans would want to see a generational passing of the torch. He believes that Biden’s stumbling on the world stage and projecting weakness has allowed enemies to take advantage and create more problems globally.
The issue of age in politics is not limited to the presidential race. DeSantis pointed out that many political leaders in Washington are 75 years old or older, and he suggested that the Founding Fathers would have added age limits if given the chance. A CBS News poll supported this sentiment, with 80% of Americans believing that elected officials older than 75 risk being out of touch with the times.
Concerns about the age of elected officials extend beyond out-of-touchness. The same CBS News poll found that 78% of Americans have concerns about the ability of officials over the age of 75 to perform their job. Over half of Americans polled, 53%, believe that the presidency is too demanding for someone over the age of 75.
DeSantis’s remarks about age have sparked discussions and debates about the importance of having younger leaders in positions of power. As the 2024 race continues to unfold, it is likely that age will remain a significant issue, especially as voters consider the future of the country and the need for energetic and effective leadership.
0. “DeSantis says Trump’s age, like Biden’s, ‘legitimate concern’ in 2024 election” Fox News, 13 Sep. 2023, https://www.foxnews.com/politics/desantis-says-trump-age-like-biden-legitimate-concern-2024-election
1. “Ron DeSantis suggests Joe Biden, 80, and Donald Trump, 77, are BOTH too old to become president and hints that” Daily Mail, 12 Sep. 2023, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12511051/Ron-plays-Trump-card-DeSantis-44-suggests-Biden-80-Trump-77-old-president-hints-hed-age-limits-Congressional-lawmakers.html
2. “DeSantis: Biden and Trump ages “absolutely a legitimate concern”” Axios, 12 Sep. 2023, https://www.axios.com/2023/09/12/desantis-2024-trump-biden-age-voters
3. “Ron DeSantis tears into Biden for ‘stumbling around the world stage’ and says the President is ‘projecting wea” Daily Mail, 12 Sep. 2023, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12508367/ron-desantis-tears-joe-biden-vietnam-speech.html