U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) just lost a major endorsement for re-election after she slipped up in a New York Times interview and said President Joe Biden is not running for a second term in 2024 — doubling down on comments for which she had already publicly apologized.
Maloney, the chairwoman of the House Oversight committee, is a powerful House Democrat who has been pitted against veteran lawmaker Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, in a primary fight between two incumbents in New York’s newly drawn 12th Congressional District representing Manhattan.
In an interview with the New York Times published Saturday, Maloney appears to have mistakenly believed that she was not on the record and made a statement indicating that Biden, 79, will not run for another four-year term when he is up for re-election in 2024, at which time he would be 82 years old.
“Off the record, he’s not running again,” Maloney told the New York Times Editorial Board when board member Eleanor Randolph asked whether Biden should run again.
“Not off the record. On the record,” board member Jyoti Thottam told Maloney.
“On the record? No, he should not run again,” the congresswoman replied, apparently unaware that the Editorial Board had not agreed to take her comments off the record.
Maloney had already stirred controversy earlier this month when, during a primary debate against Nadler and political newcomer Suraj Patel, she said, “I don’t believe [Biden’s] running for re-election.”
It was a bad look for Biden, who is already facing questions about his age and his declining poll numbers. Her comments made it appear he was losing confidence from a top Democratic lawmaker as well.
Recognizing her misstep, Maloney issued statements saying the president has “shown exemplary leadership” and has her full-fledged support for re-election in 2024. She attempted to apologize directly to the president on CNN days after the debate, but undermined her own apology by saying, “I happen to think you won’t be running.”
After Maloney doubled down in the New York Times interview, she lost a major endorsement.
On Monday, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) endorsed Nadler in the Aug. 23 primary — a last-minute, surprising move from the state’s most powerful Democrat.
“New York has a lot of outstanding leaders, but few of them lead with the courage, conviction and brilliant legislative effectiveness of my friend, Jerry Nadler,” Schumer said in a statement reported by the New York Times. “I’ve watched as time after time, Jerry — a critical partner of mine in the House — was right on the issues years before so many others.”
In a second statement, Schumer said that he had “deep respect for Carolyn Maloney’s significant accomplishments in Congress.” A spokesman for Schumer’s office told the Times he had spoken with Maloney before making his endorsement.