2024 US presidential candidates: This is what they looked like when they were younger

The presidential candidates have changed a lot over the years.

Young Donald Trump
© Fairchild Archive / GETTYIMAGES
Young Donald Trump

The presidential race in the US has stirred up a lot of discussion, particularly when it comes to the age of those in the running. President Joe Biden, 81, has become known as a bit of a gaffe-machine as he churns out mistake after mistake as the public watches on.

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Donald Trump, who is only 4 years his junior, is also facing increasing concern over his mental capacities. Indeed, a UBC Professor recently discussed the former President's apparent 'cognitive decline'.

A photo of Joe Biden sparked a strong reaction online when he became President, so let’s take a look at that as well as some other vintage snaps of his fellow candidates.

Joe Biden as a young hunk

Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on Wednesday, 20 January, 2021. He was far from winning by a landslide: it was a very close call between him and Donald Trump. However, once his spot was secured - alongside Kamala Harris as Vice-President - photos of the pair started circulating online. One throwback snap of Biden as a young man stood out.

People were stunned to see that their President was quite the hunk back in the day. One X user, @h2gkmo_gaby, rather crudely commented: ‘i’d do it’. Another, @littlelou050, argued he was ‘still fine’:

am right tho aging has its effects but i have to say for being in their 70s and 80s joe and jill look amazing! more importantly they're good at their jobs and lovely towards each other

Donald Trump

Trump is obviously the next candidate that springs to mind. Despite suggestions that he is starting to show his age, Trump has always maintained that he is in excellent mental and physical condition. Indeed, a famous filmmaker even challenged Trump to a $355m tennis match recently to give him a chance to prove his fitness. So, without further ado, here’s a snap of the controversial businessman from back in the day, attending the American Image Awards.

Young Donald Trump Fairchild Archive / GETTYIMAGES

Robert F. Kennedy Jr

Robert F. Kennedy announced his independent candidacy for President in early October 2023. The environmental lawyer stated:

Today, we turn a new page in American politics. There have been independent candidates in this country before, but this time it’s going to be different. Because this time, the independent is gonna win.

The 70-year-old is the nephew of the 35th POTUS John F. Kennedy, and hopes to follow in his uncle’s footsteps. One X user, @ifoundmetonight, was good enough to share the following snap.

Dean Phillips

Phillips joined the race on 27 October last year, standing as a younger alternative to President Biden. The 55-year-old said he was throwing his hat in the ring for ‘the exhausted majority’. Despite having to lay off staff from his campaign to keep costs down, he says he will say in the game ‘as long as you want this journey continued’:

I'm not giving up, I'm gonna continue. I'm on the ballot in 43 states. Our country is desperate for change. If you still believe that we can do better please consider supporting my campaign.

Although we couldn’t source a snap of Phillips as a young man, he did post this photo of his lookalike father to honour him on Veterans Day.

Cornel West

According to his campaign website, ‘Dr. West, affectionately known to many as Brother West, is the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary’. He has run in order to tackle ‘a national crisis of moral bankruptcy and spiritual obscenity driven by a derelict duopoly of both major parties that equally places profits over people and the planet’. Here’s a snap of young Dr West with his family.

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Sources used:

BBC: US election 2024: Marianne Williamson suspends bid for US Democratic ticket

CNN: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announces independent run for president, ending Democratic primary challenge to Biden

CBS News: Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips lays off large portion of presidential campaign staff


Donald Trump once painted the US flag incorrectly during a presidential visit Donald Trump once painted the US flag incorrectly during a presidential visit