President Joe Biden announced April 25 that he will seek a second term in the White House. Biden, a Democrat, is the nation’s second Catholic president, but his reelection would make him the first Catholic to serve twice in the Oval Office.
In a video message titled « Freedom, » Biden said, « When I ran for president four years ago, I said we are in a battle for the soul of America. And we still are. »
« The question we are facing is whether in the years ahead we have more freedom or less freedom. More rights or fewer, » Biden said. « I know what I want the answer to be. This is not a time to be complacent. That’s why I’m running for reelection. »
Amid video images from the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol and an image of Biden’s declared and undeclared GOP rivals, former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaking face to face, Biden said, « MAGA extremists are lining up to take on those bedrock freedoms. »
Biden claimed his rivals intended to cut Social Security, reduce taxes « for the very wealthy, » ban books, and implied his opponents would ban abortion, same-sex marriage, and increase restrictive voting requirements.
The announcement was expected, but followed months of speculation from critics and allies alike as to whether Biden, 80, would launch a reelection campaign.
Biden frequently discusses the role of his faith on issues such as labor, immigration and the environment. Biden routinely attends Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation.
However, Biden’s positions on some issues, such as his platform supporting legal abortion, including his call to end a prohibition on taxpayer funding for abortion, and his administration’s increasingly harsh actions toward migrants at the border, have come under fire from some Catholics.
In 2023, the U.S. bishops issued statements criticizing the Biden administration for expanding the use of Title 42, a pandemic-era federal public health rule permitting immigration officials at the border to block migrants seeking asylum from entry previously implemented by the Trump administration. The bishops also have pushed back on comments made by Biden appearing to indicate the bishops were not calling for a ban on the use of taxpayer funding for elective abortion, as they have called for that ban.
Most Americans don’t appear eager for Biden or his presumptive GOP challenger, Trump, according to recent polls. While a rematch is likely between the two, who faced off in the 2020 election, an April NBC News poll found significant majorities of Americans did not want either Trump or Biden to run.
The same poll, however, found Trump leading the Republican primary field for the Republican nomination in 2024.
Trump faces a few declared candidates — Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy and Asa Hutchinson — but some election analysts speculate that his biggest threat is DeSantis, who is seen as a likely contender for the 2024 Republican presidential primary but has not declared his candidacy.
Should DeSantis enter the race and secure his party’s nomination, the general election would become a contest between two Catholics. Up to now, no Catholic has won two terms as U.S. president, and the U.S. has not seen two back-to-back Catholic presidents.