California Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Katie Porter said age limits "for all elected officials" should be on the table at a debate Monday night.
"I do think generally that age limits are a conversation for all elected officials that we ought to be having," Porter said at the KRON-TV debate in San Francisco. She gave that answer to a question about whether President Biden, 81, and former President Trump, 77, are "too old" to run for office.
"Californians are wondering about this. I think that’s a conversation we ought to be open to. I think we need a mix of people who’ve had years of experience and people like me, who’ve only been in Congress for five years. But I think we have to have that conversation," Porter said.
The advanced ages of the incumbent president and the GOP 2024 frontrunner were thrust into the spotlight last week by the release of Special Counsel Robert Hur's report on Biden's handling of classified documents.
Hur concluded that criminal charges should not be filed against Biden, partly because a potential jury would find him to be "a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory."
"Based on our direct interactions with and observations of him, he is someone from whom many jurors will want to identify reasonable doubt. It would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him – by then a former president well into his eighties – of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness," the report said.
Hur's description of Biden's faulty memory prompted fierce pushback from the White House, which called those comments "gratuitous" and "inappropriate," as well as from Biden himself.
"I'm well-meaning, and I'm an elderly man and I know what the hell I'm doing," Biden seethed to reporters at a late night press conference last week following a short address on the report. "I've been president and I put this country back on its feet. I don't need his recommendation."
But at the same press conference, Biden appeared to forget where his late son Beau got the rosary the president said he wears every day. Biden also referred to Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, the president of Egypt, as "the president of Mexico."
Media outlets labeled the press conference a disaster for the president, who has combated questions about his age since assuming office in 2020 as the oldest man to win the White House in American history. Were he to win re-election, Biden would be about 86 years old at the completion of his second term.
The age question is of particular significance in the California Senate election as the four candidates (three Democrats and one Republican) vie for the seat previously held by the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
Feinstein was 90 and still in office when she died last September. The longtime senator had suffered from extensive health issues for more than a year before her death, leading many to wonder about her ability to represent California in the Senate.
Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Sen. Laphonza Butler, D-Calif., to serve as interim senator until the 2024 election. Butler declined to run for election to a full term.
The other candidates to appear on stage with Porter were frontrunner Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., and Republican political newcomer Steve Garvey, a legendary MLB player for the Dodgers.