U.S. Vice-President Kamala Harris created new uncertainty on Wednesday about President Joe Biden’s intentions to run for re-election in 2024, pulling back from a definitive statement she had made earlier in the week.
“The president intends to run and if he does, I will be his ticket mate.
“We will run together,’’ Harris told an LA Times reporter as she prepared to depart for California aboard Air Force Two.
Advisors had told the reporter that Harris wanted to come to the back of the plane to clarify what she told CNN on Monday.
In an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, Harris was asked about speculation that Biden would not run and about her own potential candidacy.
“Joe Biden is running for re-election, and I will be his ticket mate,’’ Harris told CNN.
The deliberate clarification on Wednesday is certain to raise questions about Biden’s intentions, which have been the subject of speculation since the 2020 election.
Biden, 79, is already the oldest president in American history.
A prominent Democrat, who is close to the White House, said Harris’ comments Wednesday were not an indication that Biden’s thinking has changed about seeking re-election.
Biden and other White House officials have said repeatedly that he expects to run in 2024.
Harris’ follow-up statement was intended to avoid using trigger words that would set off requirements for Biden to establish a formal campaign with the Federal Election Commission and begin fundraising.
The Democrat who requested anonymity to convey internal discussions said.
Still, many Democrats have speculated privately about Biden’s future and whether Harris, who has low public approval ratings, is still the favourite to lead the ticket if Biden declines to run.
Harris’ equivocation over Biden’s intentions two days after her initial comments to CNN was likely to add to that speculation.