Trump Has a Birthday He'd Prefer to Ignore

'You just want to pretend the day doesn't exist,' he says of No. 78 on Friday
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 14, 2024 8:01 AM CDT
Trump Has a Birthday He'd Prefer to Ignore
Donald Trump speaks with reporters at the National Republican Senatorial Committee Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

When Donald Trump visited Capitol Hill on Thursday, House Republicans serenaded him with a round of "Happy Birthday," after which he told them: "There's a certain point at which you don't want to hear 'Happy Birthday.' You just want to pretend the day doesn't exist." The former president turns 78 on Friday, putting a renewed focus on age in the 2024 election, notes Reuters. President Biden is three and a half years older at 81.

  • Should he win, Trump would be the oldest president ever inaugurated at 78 years and 219 days, beating Biden's record of 78 years and 61 days, reports CNN. Biden would be 82 at a second inauguration. Whoever wins would have the record as the oldest serving president when the term ends.

  • Polls consistently show that many, if not most, voters think both men are too old to be president, but the good news for Trump is that his numbers are better than Biden's on this front. A Marquette Law School poll earlier this year had 79% describing Biden this way, compared to 54% for Trump, per the Washington Post. A Pew Research Center poll in April found that 62% of voters weren't confident in Biden's mental fitness and 65% in his physical fitness. For Trump, the figures were 48% and 39%.
  • Presidential historian Timothy Naftali tells Reuters that Trump does indeed project more energy in his public appearances and appears to be more vital physically than Biden. But, he adds, "It's not clear listening to the two men who's in better command of his faculties." Both men have been making gaffes in speeches this year.
  • Vox examines why Trump comes off markedly better in the eyes of voters on the age question, even though they're both in the same ballpark. "In short, both candidates have plenty of gaffes and quirks," writes Christian Paz. "But while Biden's are interpreted as a sign of advanced age, Trump gets away with just being seen as weird." (A digression about shark attacks in a recent speech had Brian Klaas of the Atlantic using a stronger word, "delusional.")
  • One safe bet is that age will be a big issue at the upcoming June 27 debate, notes Reuters. Aside from policy arguments, voters surely will be on the lookout for verbal slip-ups.
(More Donald Trump stories.)

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