Biden Stands Firm Amid Calls to Drop Reelection Bid, Rallies Democratic Support to Defeat Trump

Featured & Cover Biden Stands Firm Amid Calls to Drop Reelection Bid Rallies Democratic Support to Defeat Trump

President Joe Biden stood resolute on Monday against growing calls to withdraw his reelection bid, urging an end to the intraparty turmoil that has plagued Democrats since his disappointing debate performance last month. Key lawmakers expressed their support for Biden to continue his campaign for the 2024 presidential race.

With congressional Democrats returning to Washington, torn between reviving Biden’s campaign or pushing him out, Biden addressed them in an open letter. He sought to quell doubts about his capability to lead for another term, emphasizing the party’s “one job” of defeating the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump, in November.

After several attempts, Biden and his campaign’s efforts to consolidate Democratic support seemed to be bearing fruit, though not all doubts were dispelled. By late Monday, a surge of public support from Democrats emerged, with Biden allies attempting to drown out voices urging him to step aside.

In his two-page letter, Biden stated, “the question of how to move forward has been well-aired for over a week now. And it’s time for it to end.”

“We have 42 days to the Democratic Convention and 119 days to the general election,” Biden wrote, distributed by his reelection campaign. “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 reinforced his message in a phone interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” insisting that “average Democrats” want him to remain in the race and expressing frustration over calls from party officials for him to step aside.

“They’re big names, but I don’t care what those big names think,” Biden said.

He challenged his critics to “announce for president, challenge me at the convention” or support him against Trump. Later, Biden spoke with his national finance committee, while First Lady Jill Biden campaigned in three states, engaging with veterans and military families.

“For all the talk out there about this race, Joe has made it clear that he’s all in,” she told a military crowd in Wilmington, North Carolina. “That’s the decision that he’s made, and just as he has always supported my career, I am all in, too.”

According to a New York Times/Siena College poll, Democratic voters are divided on whether Biden should continue as the party’s nominee or if a different candidate should be chosen.

On Capitol Hill, notable support came from the chair of the House’s Congressional Progressive Caucus, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, who deemed the threat of a second Trump presidency too significant to abandon Biden. However, Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, a vulnerable Democrat, said, “President Biden has got to prove to the American people — including me — that he’s up to the job for another four years.”

Biden’s letter angered some House Democrats, who wanted direct communication from him. According to a House aide, lawmakers felt slighted by suggestions they were out of touch with voters.

Biden met virtually with the Congressional Black Caucus, a strong supporter base, for 30 minutes, discussing his policy proposals for a second term, expressing gratitude, and criticizing Trump, as per a person familiar with the call.

While not all Black Caucus members voiced opinions, none opposed the president, the person said.

Biden plans to meet this week with the Congressional Progressive Caucus, according to Jayapal.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre mentioned that Biden underwent three neurological exams during his White House tenure, part of his annual physical exams, and was neither diagnosed with nor treated for Parkinson’s.

The political drama unfolds just over a month before the Democratic National Convention and a week before Republicans gather in Milwaukee to renominate Trump.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., a progressive lawmaker, expressed her support for Biden and concern that Democrats were losing focus on defeating Trump. “We’re losing the plot here,” she said.

Rep. Maxine Waters of California, a prominent Black Caucus member, stated that those opposing Biden “can speak for themselves or what they want to do, but I know what I’m doing because I’m a big Biden supporter.”

Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey, top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, added, “I’m tired of all this speculation. I just want to concentrate on the fact that we have to defeat Trump.”

Trump predicted Biden would stay in the race, telling Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity, “It looks to me like he may very well stay in. He’s got an ego and he doesn’t want to quit. He doesn’t want to do that.”

House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries, supportive of Biden despite addressing his conference’s concerns, reiterated his stance, saying “same answer” when asked if he supported Biden after an evening Capitol meeting.

Other House Democrats avoided questions, with Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., stating she was off to another meeting and Reps. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia and Lauren Underwood of Illinois declining to comment.

Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, publicly called for Biden to step aside, stating it would be “a mistake” for Biden to continue his campaign. “I’m calling on President Biden to step down,” Smith said on social media.

Biden’s allies anticipated more direct engagement with lawmakers. On a call with his campaign co-chairs, Biden repeatedly asked whom he needed to engage with, who needed to hear from him, and who had unanswered questions or concerns, according to Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del.

“He is out there doing his job as a candidate and doing his job as president,” Coons said.

Rep. Annie Kuster of New Hampshire, chair of the New Democrat Coalition, requested House leadership invite Biden to speak to the entire Democratic caucus.

“If the president’s going to stay in the race, then help us respond to questions from our constituents,” she said. “And it’s so much easier to say, I was with him.”

Rep. Nanette Barragan of California, chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, who supports Biden and recently campaigned with the First Lady in Pennsylvania, said Biden “should talk to as many members as possible.”

Senators returning to Washington were generally hesitant to criticize Biden, awaiting a Democratic caucus meeting to address concerns. It was unclear if any Senate Democrats would publicly call for Biden to step down, despite private concerns over the last ten days.

“He ran an excellent campaign, and he’s been an excellent president,” said Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado. “And I think what everybody is trying to satisfy is that’s the same trajectory and path that we’re on today.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer avoided questions about Biden’s reelection but stated, “As I’ve said before, I’m for Joe.”

Sen. Alex Padilla of California added it was “time to quit the hand-wringing and get back to door knocking.”

While some wealthy donors showed discomfort, strategists for House and Senate races reported record fundraising, with donors viewing congressional Democrats as a “firewall” against Trump.

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