President Joe Biden turned 81 on Monday — and though it’s a significant feat for the oldest sitting president in U.S. history, his milestone birthday is unlikely to take the spotlight: He and first lady Jill Biden are hosting a slate of holiday events throughout the day, and the nation continues to mourn the loss of former first lady Rosalynn Carter.
The Monday before Thanksgiving is a day full of traditions at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. In the morning, President Biden will pardon the National Thanksgiving Turkey in a ceremony on the White House South Lawn.
In the afternoon, the first lady, 72, will welcome the official White House Christmas tree alongside military families. Beginning the week on Sunday, the Bidens hosted a “Friendsgiving” dinner with servicemembers at the Norfolk Naval Station in Virginia.
The first couple will make up for any lost family time beginning Tuesday, when they travel to Massachusetts for the remainder of the week. President Joe Biden pardons the National Thanksgiving Turkey in 2021.
Biden’s age is something that’s top of mind for some voters heading into the 2024 election. A poll conducted in February showed that a majority of voters have concerns about his age as his reelection campaign ramps up, given that he would be 86 at the end of a potential second term.
Earlier this year, Biden’s physician asserted that the “the president remains fit for duty” in a report published by the White House, and the president himself has laughed off speculation that he’s slowing down.
Biden joked about the questions surrounding his age at the 2023 White House Correspondents’ Dinner in April, saying, “Look, I get that age is a completely reasonable issue. You might think I don’t like Rupert Murdoch, [but] that’s simply not true. How can I dislike a guy who makes me look like Harry Styles?”
“Call me old, I call it being seasoned,” the politician continued. “You say I am ancient, I say I’m wise. You say I’m over the hill, Don Lemon would say, ‘That’s a man in his prime.‘” President Joe Biden at the 2023 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty
Biden became the oldest person to be sworn in as commander-in-chief at his inaugural ceremony when he was 78.
Donald Trump was previously the oldest-ever president to take office, and was 70 at the time of his 2017 inauguration. Trump, who is seeking another term in the White House in 2024, will be 78 at the time of the next election.