‘It’s pretty sad’: Former foreign minister Alexander Downer questions

Former foreign minister Alexander Downer has questioned President Joe Biden’s capacity to serve beyond his first term.

The 80-year-old put speculation about his future to rest this week, announcing he will seek re-election in 2024.

If Biden wins a second term, and completes it, he will be 86 years old in January of 2029.

Mr Downer said the leader of the free world is “far too old” for the important position amid a backdrop of global uncertainty.

He added that people age at different rates and that former prime minister John Howard, who is older than Biden, remains mentally sharp.

“Personally, I don’t want to be rude about this, but he seems far too old for the job,” Mr Downer told Sky News Australia.

“The really depressing thing for the whole world is that we might end up between a choice between a man who is well past his prime, in Joe Biden.

“And Donald Trump, who is a little bit crazy.”

Australia’s longest serving foreign minister said the honourable thing for Biden to do, would be step down after this term.

“It is very important to the world that the United States is led by a sharp, competent, intelligent, educated person,” he added.

“It doesn’t pay for America to be led by somebody who doesn’t show any demonstrable capability to do the job.

“I think it’s pretty sad actually that he wants to go on.”

In a social media post, Biden declared he wants to “finish the job”.

“I spent the work of my first term to fight for our democracy, to protect our rights, to make sure everyone in this country is treated equally and that everyone is given a fair shot at making it,” he said in the video.

“Around the country, MAGA (make America great again) extremists are lining up to take on those bedrock freedoms.”

Biden referenced a speech he made when he first ran for the presidency in which he said the country was “in a battle for the soul of America”.

He will visit Australia next month for the third in-person Quad Leaders’ Summit, alongside Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and the leaders of Japan and India.

Mr Albanese told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday Biden “will be a very welcome visitor” when he makes his first trip Down Under as President.  

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