President Biden on Thursday swatted aside speculation that he would not seek a second term, saying he anticipated running again — while casting doubt on “whether there will be a Republican Party” in 2024 when asked about a rematch against former President Donald J. Trump.
“The answer is yes, my plan is to run for re-election. That’s my expectation,” Mr. Biden said, adding that he was confident that Vice President Kamala Harris would also be on the ticket.
When a reporter followed up to ask if he expected Mr. Trump to run again, Mr. Biden — enlivening an otherwise low-key, fact-laden performance — perked up.
“Oh, come on. I don’t even think about — I have no idea. I have no idea whether there will be a Republican Party, do you?” he said.
Mr. Biden, who recovered from a succession of personal tragedies and political setbacks over many years to win the White House, hedged a little, saying that he had no way of predicting what the future might hold.
“Look, I don’t know where you guys come from, man,” he added. “I’m a great respecter of fate. I’ve never been able to plan four and a half, three and a half years ahead for certain.”
The Joe Biden who held forth in the East Room on Thursday had much in common with the Joe Biden who held forth on the Senate floor for nearly four decades, although grayer and more hoarse and halting in his delivery.
The president was characteristically long-winded, self-deprecating and intent on projecting the image of a convivial and candid leader — as he has throughout his career.
Mr. Biden’s staff, both in the White House and on the campaign trail, have been reluctant to put him in front of reporters for long, unstructured intervals, a hangover from decades of gaffes and rambling performances.
But he appeared to do himself no great harm, and made a point of striking a contrast with his combative predecessor, who labeled the press the “enemy of the people.”
He apologized to reporters for over-talking or for assuming they did not have background information on issues, and he went out of his way to praise them for their reporting on the immigration crisis at the country’s border.
Yet for all his deep-dive policy discussions, personal asides and demonstrations of decorum, Mr. Biden could not quite shake off the lingering, disruptive presence of Mr. Trump.
“My predecessor. Oh, God, I miss him,” Mr. Biden said with an acid laugh.