Biden aide gaffe leads to campaign clarification

WASHINGTON : White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has clarified President Joe Biden’s re-election plans after a comment she made sparked confusion.

Hours after Mr Biden formally launched his campaign for a second four-year term in office she refused to say if he planned to complete the entire term.

“That’s something for him to decide,” she said at a briefing. Mr Biden, 80, is the oldest president in US history.

She later clarified that he would serve another full term in office if he wins.

The spokeswoman’s embarrassing about-face came only hours after Mr Biden officially announced he was running again in a pre-recorded video.

“Does the president plan to serve all eight years?” a reporter for Politico asked at a White House briefing on Tuesday.

“That’s something for him to decide,” she began.

“I’m not just not going to get ahead of it. And there’s a 2024 campaign. Anything related to that, I would refer you to that.”

Ms Jean-Pierre said she had initially avoided answering the reporter’s question to remain compliant with a US federal election law known as the Hatch Act which prohibits executive branch employees from using their position to campaign for a candidate while performing official duties.

According to Politico, Ms Jean-Pierre is known to often refer reporters to the Hatch Act. Reporters complain that she has interpreted the law too broadly and cites it to avoid answering certain questions.

On Tuesday she cited the law again when asked about the media contact for Mr Biden’s re-election campaign and whether the war in Ukraine had impacted his decision to run.

Later in the day she took to Twitter to pledge that Mr Biden would serve all eight years if he won re-election.

“As you know, we take following the law seriously,” she posted.

“So I wanted to be sure that I didn’t go into 2024 more than is appropriate under the law. But I can confirm that if re-elected, @POTUS would serve all 8 years.”

Kellyanne Conway, a longtime campaign and White House aide to former president Donald Trump, was found by a US government watchdog to have repeatedly violated the Hatch Act.

The White House Office of Special Counsel wrote that her failure to comply with the law wil “erode the principal foundation of our democratic system – the rule of law” and called for her to be fired.

Ms Jean-Pierre’s gaffe comes amid new polling that suggests a majority of Americans think President Biden should not run for re-election because of his age.

Mr Biden, 80, who is already the oldest serving US president, would be 86 at the end of his second term.

courtesy : (BBC)