By Steve Holland
NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden, who is raising cash for his re-election campaign while visiting New York for meetings with world leaders, acknowledged concerns about his age on Monday but said he was running because democracy was still at stake.
“A lot of people seem focused on my age. Well I get it. Believe me, I know better than anyone,” Biden, 80, told supporters at a fundraiser on Monday evening.
Biden defeated former President Donald Trump, a Republican who ran on a “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) slogan, in the 2020 election and may face him again next year; Trump is the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
“I’m running because democracy is at stake,” Biden said. “And let there be no question, Donald Trump and his MAGA Republicans are determined to destroy American democracy. And I will always defend, protect and fight for our democracy.”
Biden will address the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday and is expected to press leaders to continue to support Ukraine in the war with Russia. The president has sought to rally the world to stand up to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump noted in an interview that aired on Sunday with NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he had gotten along well with Putin, while saying he had also been hard on Russia as president.
“I will not side with dictators like Putin. Maybe Trump and his MAGA friends can bow down, but I won’t,” Biden said.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Michael Perry)