President Joe Biden said Tuesday that, were it not for Donald Trump’s continued pursuit of the White House, he’s “not sure” he would seek reelection.

“If Trump wasn’t running, I’m not sure I’d be running,” Biden said outside of a Boston-area fundraising event for his 2024 campaign.

“But we cannot let him win," he said, echoing his past statements that defeating Trump is a moral imperative.

What You Need To Know

  • President Joe Biden said Tuesday that he's "not sure" he would be running for re-election if not for Donald Trump's pursuit of the White House

  • Biden said as much at a fundraiser Tuesday, adding that "we cannot let [Trump] win," recalling his assertions that challenging Trump is a "battle for the soul of America"

  • Biden has previously expressed hesitation in pursuing the presidency, first in 2016 when he was greiving the death of his son, Beau

  • The president was coy about reelection plans, at one point suggesting he might retire after one-term


Biden’s hesitation to pursue the presidency is nothing new — he opted against running for the presidency in 2016, in the wake of his son Beau Biden’s 2015 death, later telling Vanity Fair that he “just wasn’t ready” while working through the grieving process.

He was reticent to pursue the vice presidency, as Barack Obama’s running mate, telling the Los Angeles Times in 2018 that he thought he could better serve the administration as the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

As the 2020 election neared, Biden even told fellow Democrats that “if you can persuade me there is somebody better who can win, I’m happy not to do it,” the New York Times reported.

Biden ultimately announced his candidacy in 2019, in doing so presenting his determination to be a bulwark standing firm against Trump’s vision for America.

The march on Charlottesville, Va., was ”a defining moment for this nation,” Biden said in his announcement video.

“We saw white supremacists and neo-Nazis It was there on August of 2017 we saw Klansmen and white supremacists and neo-Nazis come out in the open,” only to be met by Trump’s assessment that there were “some very fine people on both sides.”

That was his trigger, which he used to call the 2020 election a “battle for the soul of our nation.”

In the run-up to the election, Biden aides suggested he would only seek one-term; in the early years of his presidency, Biden himself was coy about plans for reelection.

Concerns about Biden's age have harrangued his campaign, even has his advocates have sought to dismiss those worries make the case that his years of experience are an asset.

“Now is not the time for a rookie in the White House. Now is not a time for MAGA chaos and division,” Biden campaign spokesman Kevin Munoz recently told Spectrum News. “And President Biden has been able to get big things done just because of his leadership and his experience in Washington. And that's a record we're happy to have a debate on.”

Yet in a recent interview with Spectrum News, California GOP Chair Jessica Patterson suggested that Democrats will seek a “graceful way” for the president to exit the race, setting the stage for Vice President Kamala Harris, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, or any number of other candidates, to pursue the seat.

Spectrum News' Susan Carpenter and Taylor Popielarz contributed to this report.