Sen. Bernie Sanders, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, said ideas should matter more to voters rather than the age of a candidate.
"I think it is a combination of factors, but the end of the day, this is what I honestly believe: It's not whether you're young, it's not whether you're old, it's what you believe in," Sanders, 77, said during a Fox News town hall on Monday. "This is a criticism of media in general. There is too much focus on individuals, and not enough focus on the American people and what their needs are."
The independent senator from Vermont was asked about whether his age was a hindrance to his candidacy after 2020 candidate South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 37, called for a "new generation of leadership" during his announcement event over the weekend.
"Follow me around the campaign trail," Sanders said. "Thank God my health is good. When I was a kid I was a long distance runner, one of the better milers in New York City and I have continued to have my endurance. But I think when you look at a candidate, yeah, you can look at age, that's fair. You can look at experience. I was a mayor for eight years, I know a little bit about local government. I was a member of the House, I'm a member of the United States Senate, I've been all over the world talking to heads of state."
Sanders routinely polls favorably in the crowded Democratic primary field along with former Vice President Joe Biden, 76. The two frontrunners have drawn criticism over whether they should allow a younger presidential hopeful to become the Democratic Party's next standard-bearer.
President Trump is 72 years old and was the oldest person to assume the presidency when he was 70 in January 2017.