US Vice President Kamala Harris has announced her readiness to fulfill her constitutional duty to assume the presidency should President Joe Biden be unable to complete his term, amid concerns over his health and age.
Harris made the remarks during an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday in Jakarta, Indonesia, where she was attending a regional summit.
She described the idea of possibly stepping into the role of president as "hypothetical" but said she was ready while dismissing concerns about Biden being too old for office.
"Joe Biden is going to be fine, so that is not going to come to fruition," Harris said. "But let us also understand that every vice president — every vice president — understands that when they take the oath they must be very clear about the responsibility they may have to take over the job of being president."
Harris went on to say that she spends a lot of time with Biden in the Oval Office, where she sees "how his ability to understand issues and weave through complex issues in a way that no one else can to make smart and important decisions on behalf of the American people have played out."
"And so I will say to you that I think the American people ultimately want to know that their president delivers. And Joe Biden delivers," she added.
Biden, 80, has announced his 2024 reelection campaign setting the scene for a rematch against his Republican predecessor Donald Trump, who will be 77 next year.
Biden is already the oldest president in US history and he would be 86 by the end of his second term if he were to win reelection in 2024.
Biden's age makes his re-election bid a historic and risky gamble for the Democratic Party, which faces a tough election map to hold the Senate in 2024 and is the minority in the House of Representatives now.
A previous poll conducted in December had found almost 60 percent of registered voters in the US expressing serious concerns about Biden’s mental fitness, citing frequent instances in which Biden had appeared to be completely disoriented in public.
Harris served as the San Francisco district attorney from 2004 to 2011 and California’s attorney general from 2011 to 2017.
She ran for the presidency in 2020 but quickly burned out following the Democratic primary debates. She ultimately dropped from the election in December 2019 and received fewer pledged delegates than fellow candidates.
Harris' approval ratings have remained low throughout her vice presidency, and an NBC News poll found she had the lowest rating for any vice president in the poll's history.
Only 32 percent of registered voters have a positive view of Harris, compared to 49 percent with a negative view, and 39 percent with a "very negative view."