Democratic President Joe Biden said he would consider himself “very fortunate” if former Republican President Donald Trump decides to run against him in 2024.
Biden made the remarks at a press conference during an emergency meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Brussels, Belgium addressing Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
A reporter with Der Spiegel told Biden there are "widespread concerns in Europe that a figure like your predecessor might get elected President again" and asked whether there are “any steps, anything you’re trying to do, and NATO is trying to do” to prevent Trump from walking back NATO's commitments.
You can hear Biden's remarks in the video below.
Biden, referring to Trump, said:
"I don't criticize anybody for asking that question. But the next election -- I'd be very fortunate if I had that same man running against me."
He went on to say that he is more focused on supporting Democrats in this year's midterm elections rather than worrying about 2024:
"So, we're a long way off in elections, a long way off."
"My focus of any election is on making sure that we retain the House and the United States Senate so that I have the room to continue to do the things that I've been able to do, in terms of grow the economy and deal in a rational way with American foreign policy and be the leader of the free world."
Although Trump has not made a formal announcement, most prognosticators believe he will run for office again in 2024.
In November, Trump hinted he would announce a presidential run after this year's midterm elections, which will determine if Democrats manage to retain control of both chambers of the legislature.
Speaking to Fox News, he said "a lot of great people who are thinking about running are waiting for that decision, because they're not going to run if I run."
Trump's advisers have previously instructed him to wait before he makes an official announcement confirming his candidacy.
According to a Washington Post report, which cited individuals familiar with the discussions, advisers who have told the impatient Trump he has to wait before making an announcement are nervous that an early announcement would mobilize Democrats and increase voter turnout.
Biden's words drew praise and many offered further criticisms of Trump and what a potential 2024 run would mean.
Concerns that Trump would threaten NATO's efforts are not misplaced.
Trump regularly undermined NATO while in office and discussed withdrawing the United States from its NATO obligations entirely.
In 2017, European nations reacted with shock and defiance when Trump, then-President elect, suggested that the European Union would eventually break up and declared that NATO is "obsolete."
Speaking at the time in a joint interview with The London Times and the German publication Bild, Trump claimed that he'd said for years "that NATO had problems," stressing that the organization is "obsolete because it was designed many, many years ago" and criticizing member states for not "paying what they're supposed to be paying."
Trump's comments represent an unprecedented breach in transatlantic relations and came at a time when Europe faced several new elections in a year in which hardline anti-immigrant Euroskeptics made efforts to gain power.
The consequences of a potential NATO breakdown are extensive: Guarantees from the U.S. are vital to European security and the U.S. and E.U. are each other's most valuable trade partners. On matters of war, peace, and wealth, the U.S. and E.U. are interlinked.