Biden defiant despite more Democrats calling on him to exit

Biden defiant despite more Democrats calling on him to exit

Former Vermont governor Peter Shumlin, a Democrat who endorsed Biden fairly early in the 2020 primary, said that the struggles of the past week made it imperative that Biden drop out of the race.

“With him, we lose. With the courage to pass the torch, we win,” he said.

The decisions were a reflection of the series of meetings and decisions taking place this weekend, with the party steeling itself for a volatile few days amid a growing impasse that has emerged between the President and his party over the path forward.

Biden has been buoyed by his family – particularly first lady Jill Biden and his son Hunter – who have been adamant that he not allow party leaders to drum him out of the race.

Outside his tight circle, however, many Democrats eyeing contested races up and down the ballot were growing nervous.

Craig is the fifth congressional Democrat to call for Biden to step down, while another 13 members of Congress and governors have expressed concern about him continuing, according to a Washington Post tally.

Amid an intense glare, Biden’s aides today NZT also sought to explain why they provided questions for a radio host to ask him during an interview earlier in the week.

Biden’s campaign scrambled to put together two campaign events in Pennsylvania tomorrow, while House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries scheduled a call with top Democrats in the lower chamber of Congress.

Representative James Clyburn, who has been a top ally of Biden’s, cancelled his scheduled appearance on CBS’ Face the Nation tomorrow, the network announced.

With congressional Democrats returning to Washington next week for the first time since Biden’s shaky debate performance – and with the President hosting a Nato summit and planning a solo news conference – the next few days are expected to be emotional and potentially combative. Lawmakers will weigh whether previously private conversations about Biden’s standing as the nominee should become more public.

“My advice would be [Biden] really needs to meet with us in the House Democratic caucus, meet with senators, when we get back next week,” Representative Ami Bera of California told Fox News.

“It’s going to be tough to win this election unless he’s got the full support of the [elected officials].”

Ex-governor ‘dismayed’ by past week

Shumlin, who was a three-term governor and former chairman of the Democratic Governors’ Association, said that while he believes Biden has been perhaps one of the best presidents in modern history, he has been dismayed by what he’s seen over the past week.

“Joe ran because of what a threat he knew Donald Trump was to our democracy,” he said in an interview.

“The way that he beats him for a second time is to accept his ageing, to accept the changes that are happening – which will happen to all of us – and pass the torch to new leaders.”

He said his opinion was altered by the debate – and what he saw as a clear display of the toll of the job, and of simply getting older, had taken – and he was surprised that more Democratic leaders were not speaking out.

“This is Joe Biden’s decision,” he said.

“But the lack of courage from the leadership of the Democratic Party, both elected and non-elected, with their shameful series of evasions and vacillations and convolution has to stop immediately.

“It’s time to tell the truth.”

Biden uses TV interview and rally to try to quell concerns

Biden sought to use a battleground-state rally and a prime time television interview to quell the concerns about his candidacy.

Some of his allies and those inside his campaign were assured by the performance and didn’t feel any of his interview answers, or his delivery of them, would alter their thinking about moving forward.

But some of Biden’s defiance throughout the day ran the risk of driving more skittish lawmakers to go public with their concerns.

In the interview, he dismissed any polls that have him losing to Trump (“All the pollsters I talk to tell me it’s a toss-up”) or those that show his approval rating at 36% (“That’s not what our polls show”) and he insisted that he had no firsthand knowledge of any Democratic discontent (“They all said I should stay in the race … none of the people said I should leave”).

Asked how he’d feel if he stayed in the race and Trump won, he responded, “I’ll feel as long as I gave it my all and I did the goodest job as I know I can do, that’s what this is about”.

Radio interviewers given list of approved questions

At a time when Biden is under heightened scrutiny and attempting to showcase his mental dexterity, however, one of the radio hosts who interviewed the President earlier in the week said that the questions she asked “were sent to me for approval” from Biden aides.

The host, Andrea Lawful-Sanders of Philadelphia station WURD appeared on CNN with another radio host, Earl Ingram of Milwaukee.

Both interviewed Biden after his June 27 debate.

CNN host Victor Blackwell noted the interviews both featured questions that were very similar and asked Lawful-Sanders if the questions had been delivered to her in advance.

“The questions were sent to me for approval. I approved of them,” Lawful-Sanders said, adding that she received eight proposed questions and chose four of them to ask.

In a follow-up email, she said, “I never once felt pressured to ask certain questions” and that she chose the ones she thought “were most important to the black and brown communities we serve in … Philadelphia”.

Ingram also said he was provided with questions to ask, telling ABC News, “Yes, I was given some questions for Biden”.

The White House referred questions to the campaign, and campaign spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said that “it’s not at all an uncommon practice for interviewees to share topics they would prefer”.

“These questions were relevant to news of the day – the president was asked about this debate performance as well as what he’d delivered for black Americans,” she said.

“We do not condition interviews on acceptance of these questions, and hosts are always free to ask the questions they think will best inform their listeners.”

She also pointed to instances in which Trump has cancelled interviews when hosts did not agree to provide him with questions, including last week with TV station WVEC in Norfolk, Virginia.

The President spent much of today at his home in Wilmington, Delaware, but he joined a biweekly meeting of his campaign’s co-chairs.

The meeting included several high-level allies, including Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth, and Clyburn.

Biden is now scheduled to do two campaign events tomorrow, one in Philadelphia and another in Harrisburg, according to a White House schedule.

Those events came after he cancelled an appearance at the National Education Association’s conference in Philadelphia after union staff set up picket lines.

He plans to return to the White House tomorrow, ahead of the Nato summit in Washington and where, on Friday, he is planning to hold a rare solo news conference.

Jeffries’ decision to hold a call with top Democrats was made before Biden’s rally in Wisconsin and the ABC interview that aired yesterday.

But it was the restlessness of members that prompted Jeffries to move up a weekly meeting that usually takes place on Wednesdays (local time) when the chamber is in session.

Biden and aides dismiss calls to leave election race

Biden and his aides have often dismissed some of the calls for him to leave the race, pointing to the fact that the bluntest words are coming from those who have previously made similar statements.

Julian Castro, a former Housing and Urban Development Secretary in the Obama Administration who ran in the 2020 primary and raised concerns at the time, said on MSNBC that Biden “is basically in denial” about “the decline that people can clearly see”.

Former congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio, who also ran in the 2020 Democratic primary and previously called on Biden to drop out of the race, said that the President’s interview “didn’t move the needle at all”.

“I don’t think he energised anybody. I think there was a level of him being out of touch with the reality on the ground,” he said. “I’m worried.”

Allies who have long defended him were supportive.

“President Biden has delivered remarkable progress for the American people, and he has plans to do even more in his next term,” Delaware Senator Chris Coons wrote on X. “I can’t wait to help him continue to take the fight to Trump and win in November.”

Senator John Fetterman of Pennsylvania posted on X that “Democrats need to get a spine” and that “Joe Biden is our guy”.

Representative Brad Sherman of California was positive but also said that Biden needed to do more.

“Biden did a very good job in the 22-min interview with Stephanopoulos,” he wrote on X. “But most of the questions were about Biden’s capabilities. We need an extended live interview that focuses on where Biden plans to lead us over the next four years.”

Sherman also called for Biden to do a longer interview live before the full ABC News interview aired, even as he acknowledged that Biden “may very well be able to give us another great four years”.

“I think that we need to test Biden further,” Sherman said on CNN.