Calls For Joe Biden To Withdraw Intensify Among House Democrats

Five lawmakers have publicly urged Biden to withdraw from the presidential race: Reps. Lloyd Doggett, Seth Moulton, Raúl Grijalva, Angie Craig, and Mike Quigley. Conversely, Democratic Reps. Maxine Waters and Bobby Scott spoke in support of Biden, according to a source.
Calls For Joe Biden To Withdraw Intensify Among House Democrats
Calls For Joe Biden To Withdraw Intensify Among House Democrats

Several House Democratic ranking members expressed to House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries in a Sunday call that President Joe Biden should step aside from the 2024 campaign, sources familiar with the call revealed.

The call aimed to gauge opinions following Biden’s poor debate performance last month. Held before lawmakers return to Washington this week, the conversation highlighted deep concerns about potential damage to the Democratic ticket and the party’s chances of reclaiming the House majority.

Jeffries did not disclose his stance on Biden’s reelection during the call, a source present told CNN. More lawmakers explicitly called for Biden to step down than those who supported his continuation as the nominee, according to one source.

Among those opposed to Biden’s candidacy were Reps. Mark Takano, Adam Smith, Jim Himes, Joe Morelle, Jerry Nadler, and Susan Wild, according to three sources.

Five lawmakers have publicly urged Biden to withdraw from the presidential race: Reps. Lloyd Doggett, Seth Moulton, Raúl Grijalva, Angie Craig, and Mike Quigley. Conversely, Democratic Reps. Maxine Waters and Bobby Scott spoke in support of Biden, according to a source.

One concern raised during the nearly two-hour call was that Biden’s candidacy could jeopardize Democrats’ chances of regaining the House majority. It was generally acknowledged that Vice President Kamala Harris should be the nominee. “It was pretty brutal,” a senior Democratic aide told CNN, speaking anonymously about the private conversation among House leaders.

Though not present on the call, lawmakers from the Congressional Black Caucus, including Rep. Joyce Beatty of Ohio and Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida, quickly defended Biden. Beatty, former chair of the CBC, emphasized that Democrats should not turn against their president, noting that Black voters remain loyal to Biden. Wilson added in a statement, “Any ‘leader’ calling for President Biden to drop out needs to get their priorities straight and stop undermining this incredible actual leader who has delivered real results for our country.”

No decisions about demanding a White House meeting or sending a letter to Biden are expected before the full Democratic caucus meets Tuesday, aides said. Jeffries has made clear he will allow members to express their opinions and make their judgments.

One senior House Democrat mentioned being on calls and group chats with colleagues who largely agree Biden should step aside. The caucus is seeking the best way to move forward while respecting Biden’s storied career. This member and another believe that Tuesday’s caucus meeting will be pivotal for the president. One member told CNN they expect significant developments on that day.

Many Democrats, concerned about Biden’s viability following his poor debate performance, are awaiting Jeffries' public stance. Jeffries has so far refrained from sharing his opinion, continuing to listen to his caucus.

Meanwhile, Biden campaigned in battleground Pennsylvania, speaking at a predominantly Black church in Philadelphia and making a surprise stop at a local campaign office, engaging in unscripted events encouraged by his allies.

In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, he showcased support from state Democrats, including Sen. John Fetterman, Rep. Madeleine Dean, and Lt. Gov. Austin Davis at a campaign event. When asked by the press if the Democratic Party still supported him, Biden responded with a resounding “yes.”

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