Videos of Donald Trump, 77, babbling on stage, photos of him sweating, his features drawn, are widely shared by the campaign team of Ron DeSantis, 45 and distant second for the Republican primary in the polls of ‘opinion.
That of Joe Biden, not unhappy to once again shine the spotlight on the age of another candidate, has also entered the game. A strategy far from pleasing the Trump camp.
Moments of confusion?
“Biden’s team must be as confused as its own candidate,” blasted Steven Cheung, Donald Trump’s spokesperson, to AFP. In a statement of very rare violence, he mocked the president’s repeated falls, calling him “weak and puny”, “simply stupid”.
Two-thirds of Americans think the current president is too old for a second term, compared to 50% who think the same of Donald Trump.
During his numerous campaign rallies, Donald Trump certainly appears in great shape, interacting for long hours with his sea of supporters.
But do his repeated blunders, the videos of him clinging to a railing to avoid slipping, trembling while drinking a glass of water, illustrate a decline in the former president? Or simple moments of distraction, of fatigue? It’s ultimately impossible to say.
“Biden looks older”
“Even if they are not far from being the same age, Biden is probably older than Trump,” analyzes political scientist Kyle Kondik.
“Rightly or wrongly, I think Trump is not evaluated in the same way, because he has been saying crazy things for so long,” analyzes a political scientist.
This is also what several polls suggest: two-thirds of Americans think that the current president is too old for a second term, compared to 50% who think the same thing about Donald Trump.
“We will have to see how the two candidates behave on the ground,” continues the academic. “Rightly or wrongly, I think Trump is not evaluated in the same way because he has been saying crazy things for so long,” he believes.
Omerta on his health check
The Republican is also not subject to the medical transparency that weighs on his Democratic rival. As President of the United States, Joe Biden must undergo a litany of medical examinations each year, the results of which are communicated in great detail to the press.
If his last evaluation qualified him as “vigorous”, we also know that the leader had a “small” cancerous lesion removed from his skin in February and that he underwent a colonoscopy in 2021.
Conversely, almost no details have leaked about the state of health of Donald Trump, an alleged fast-food lover, since he left power three years ago.
Carter has already sounded the alarm
The debate over the age of presidents was already heated during Ronald Reagan’s second term in the 1980s, when some observers questioned the deterioration of his intellectual abilities. Several years after leaving power at age 77, the latter announced that he was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
In 1994, former American President Jimmy Carter himself sounded the alarm, worrying, in the “Journal of the American Medical Association”, about the “danger” represented for the United States by the possibility that abilities of a president are reduced due to a “neurological illness”.