ABC distances itself from Stephanopoulos’ claim Biden can’t serve second term: ‘Not the position’ of network

ABC News is distancing itself from its star anchor’s candid assertion that President Biden can’t serve four more years in office. 

George Stephanpoulos, on the heels of his high-stakes interview last week with Biden following the president’s disastrous debate performance, was seen on video being asked whether Biden should step down.

“I don’t think he can serve four more years,” Stephanopoulos responded while walking in New York City, according to the video obtained by TMZ

ABC’S GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS AFTER BIDEN INTERVIEW: ‘I DON’T THINK HE CAN SERVE FOUR MORE YEARS’

ABC News released a statement Tuesday night telling Fox News Digital, “George expressed his own point of view and not the position of ABC News.” 

Stephanopoulos appeared to be regretful of his candid admission, saying in a statement, “Earlier today I responded to a question from a passerby. I shouldn’t have.”

White House spokesperson Andrew Bates pointed Fox News Digital to comments made at Tuesday’s press briefing by White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who told Fox News’ Peter Doocy that the president is committed to serving a full second term in office. The Biden campaign did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

Biden would be 86 at the conclusion of a second term if he’s re-elected.

ABC’s swift clampdown on the Stephanopoulos bombshell did not occur in a vacuum. The Disney-owned network has already landed the second presidential debate scheduled between Biden and former President Trump on Sept. 10.

The debate will be moderated by ABC’s David Muir and Linsey Davis, although it’s anyone’s guess if it will proceed as planned. Biden’s halting, frail showing last month could cause handlers to keep him out of the spotlight as much as possible, while Trump, currently enjoying a polling lead, may not want to risk giving Biden momentum. 

CRITICS PILE ON BIDEN FOLLOWING ABC INTERVIEW, BLAST HIS REFUSAL TO COMMIT TO COGNITIVE TEST: ‘DISQUALIFYING’

ABC is hoping that both candidates will participate in the debate, but the perception that the network’s chief political anchor doesn’t believe Biden can fulfill his presidential duties for another four years likely doesn’t help.

Biden’s debate performance sparked unprecedented calls from members of the media and even a growing number of Democrats to withdraw from the 2024 race. Biden has not budged, repeatedly saying he’s staying in the race and is the best choice to defeat Trump.

His interview with Stephanopoulos was widely seen as a test to show he has the mental capacity to continue his re-election bid. However, the 22-minute sit-down has not eased tensions within his party.

ABC NEWS PANEL SAYS BIDEN INTERVIEW WON’T ‘CALM THE NERVES’ OF ‘JITTERY DEMOCRATS’

Biden raised eyebrows when he expressed uncertainty about whether he had watched the CNN debate, telling Stephanpoulos “I don’t think so, no.”

He refused to commit to a cognitive test, repeatedly insisting he is tested every day in the role as the commander in chief.

Biden also irked Democrats when he said he would be content with a hypothetical defeat against Trump as long as he as he “gave it [his] all.”