Biden turns 80 today, family brunch at the White House

Intimate celebrations following the niece’s wedding reception

Born on November 20, 1942, Joe Biden today becomes the first incumbent president to turn 80. A goal destined to rekindle the doubts and questions about his candidacy for the second term of a president, which, if re-elected, he would complete at the age of 86. Also for this reason, there are no big celebrations at the White House, just a family brunch organized by the first lady Jill.

In addition, the White House yesterday hosted other celebrations, those for the wedding of niece Naomi Biden with Peter Neal who yesterday got married in a ceremony celebrated, in front of about 250 guests, on the South Lawn of the White House. And, according to some sources cited by CNN, the choice to celebrate the niece’s wedding this weekend was perhaps not accidental, if it was able to somewhat overshadow Biden’s octogenarian birthday.

In any case, Biden today blows out the 80 candles in a completely different and much better scenario than that of a few weeks ago, when Democrats and the White House – convinced by the polls that they are heading towards an electoral disaster which November 8 is been denied – they aimed to keep the event quiet, to avoid the usual trail of doubts about a leader’s actual mental and physical abilities to lead America, and therefore the world.

Biden is experiencing a clearly positive moment: he has managed to avoid the announced electoral blow in the midterm elections which would have been a referendum without appeal on him, he has participated in a series of international meetings, above all the G20 in which he obtained a narrative no longer just Western opposition to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

And in his first face-to-face with Xi Jinping he opened a channel of dialogue, in the context of “responsible competition”, with China from a position of strength which, as he himself said, was guaranteed by the outcome of the midterm. But the apex was the showdown that Biden gave on the night of November 15 and 16 when the news arriving from Poland of a ‘Russian missile’ that fell on NATO territory seemed to be able to bring the Ukrainian conflict to an escalation without return, with the activation of Article 5 of the Alliance.

The aging president emerged as the wise president who passed the test of the “3 a.m. phone call” – which has become the koine of American politics since Hillary Clinton used it in a famous commercial against the then-unknown Barack Obama to challenge his ‘foreign policy inexperience – with restraint and an iron fist, to curb the rush forward of Volodymyr Zelensky and other Central European leaders.

Biden’s successes in recent weeks are certainly not intended to dispel the doubts of many voters on the crucial point of re-election. Even several Democratic exponents think that the generational change that is taking place in Congress in these hours is necessary for the race to the White House in 2024, where the renunciation of the leadership of the 82-year-old Nancy Pelosi has opened the door to a whole new generation of leader.

Biden has so far said he wants to run again, but he also said he believes a lot in fate: “I think it’s legitimate to have concerns about the age of anyone, including me, but I think the best way to judge is to look at what I do. I believe a lot in fate, I might get sick tomorrow, I might die tomorrow,” he said in an interview at the end of October.