Biden Adopts Aggressive Strategy to Counter Calls for Withdrawal and Solidify Position as Democratic Nominee

Feature and Cover Biden Adopts Aggressive Strategy to Counter Calls for Withdrawal and Solidify Position as Democratic Nominee

President Biden is adopting an aggressive and offensive strategy to counter calls for him to step down as the Democratic candidate following his poor debate performance against former President Trump.

This new, assertive approach is a stark departure from the previous week when some critics said he was slow to respond to Democrats and failed to counterattack amid increasing demands for his withdrawal.

The goal is to buy time as he and his advisors strategize ahead of the Democratic convention, portraying Biden as the one in control, according to Democrats close to his campaign.

“The strategy is a defiant one,” said a strategist close to Biden’s inner circle. “It’s basically, ‘I’ve got the delegates, so I control the process here,’ and essentially, ‘I control the narrative. Democratic voters voted for me to be the nominee, and I’m going to be the nominee in a few weeks.’”

In a letter to Democratic members of Congress on Monday, Biden called for unity behind him to defeat Trump, firmly rejecting calls for him to step down before lawmakers return to Congress.

“The question of how to move forward has been well-aired for over a week now. And it’s time for it to end,” Biden wrote. “We have one job, and that is to beat Donald Trump. We have 42 days to the Democratic Convention and 119 days to the general election. Any weakening of resolve or lack of clarity about the task ahead only helps Trump and hurts us.

“It’s time to come together, move forward as a unified party, and defeat Donald Trump,” Biden added.

Simultaneously, the president made a live call to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program on Monday to respond to his critics.

When co-host Mika Brzezinski introduced him as the presumptive Democratic nominee, a chuckling Biden said, “I’m more than presumptive. I’m going to be the Democratic nominee.”

“The bottom line here is that we’re not going anywhere. I am not going anywhere,” Biden told Brzezinski and co-host Joe Scarborough. “I wouldn’t be running if I didn’t absolutely believe that I am the best candidate to beat Donald Trump.”

Later that day, Biden spoke with major Democratic donors and vowed to beat Trump, declaring he was “done talking about the debate.”

“We can’t waste any more time being distracted,” he told the fundraisers.

More than a dozen Democratic strategists, operatives, and donors interviewed by The Hill expressed uncertainty about whether Biden’s approach would ultimately work.

Questions about the president’s health and stamina persist. On Monday, The New York Times reported that a Parkinson’s disease expert from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center visited the White House eight times from last September until this spring. One of these meetings was with Biden’s physician. The White House refuted the report, stating an examination found no signs of Parkinson’s and that the president is not being treated for it.

Nevertheless, Democrats welcomed Biden’s new strategy, seeing it as a significant improvement over his approach last week.

A former Biden administration official described it as a “good political strategy” by Biden and his team. “They are barreling forward,” the strategist said. “The [Democratic] leadership either seems to be quiet or on board. But what we don’t know is if there is a group of Democrats — not just one by one — who are willing to jump in front of the train.”

The former administration official acknowledged the time constraint — the Democratic convention begins in six weeks — suggesting the strategy could be effective. “Every week he’s still the nominee means it’s more likely he’ll be the nominee,” the official said.

Time is running out for the party to resolve its divisions and unite behind a candidate.

“There’s time but not a lot of it to see how things settle,” said former Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), who chaired the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Israel suggested Biden could use this week’s NATO summit in Washington to remind donors, activists, and voters of his leadership and demonstrate that the debate was an isolated incident.

But, Israel added, “clarity is critical, and this climate of doubt and despair can’t extend beyond the middle of the month.”

Democratic strategist Jim Manley admitted he was watching the fallout from the debate “with clear trepidation,” expressing confusion over Biden’s lack of engagement last week.

“The idea that it took four or five days to reach out to [House Minority Leader Hakeem] Jefferies and [Senate Majority Leader Chuck] Schumer was political malpractice,” Manley said.

However, the revised strategy is a “shot across the bow,” Manley added. “If his goal is to stay in the race, it’s absolutely the right thing to do. They’re sending a strong message to the Hill that they’re not backing down, and they’re drawing a line in the sand.”

Following Biden’s call with donors, one Democratic bundler felt slightly more optimistic: “When Biden has some piss and vinegar in him, how can you not feel better?”

By adopting a more aggressive approach, Biden aims to solidify his position as the Democratic nominee and counter the narrative that he should step down. His recent actions indicate a strong commitment to unifying the party and defeating Trump, despite ongoing concerns about his health and the party’s divisions.

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