United States

Biden asks US Congress Democrats to stick with him amid worry about his ability

Reuters

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Biden asks US Congress Democrats to stick with him amid worry about his ability

JOE BIDEN. US President Joe Biden speaks to United Auto Workers members at the UAW's Community Action Program legislative conference in Washington, DC, USA on January 24, 2024.

Leah Millis/Reuters

'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 says in his letter to Democrats . 'We have one job. And that is to beat Donald Trump.'

WASHINGTON, USA – President Joe Biden told his fellow Democrats on Monday, July 8, that he is “firmly committed” to staying in the 2024 presidential race, seeking to head off concerns the party could lose both the White House and Congress in the November 5 election.

“I am not going anywhere,” Biden told MSNBC after calling into the network’s Morning Joe program.

A handful of House of Representatives Democrats have called on Biden, 81, to terminate a campaign that has been on defense since a shaky June 27 debate against Republican Donald Trump. A series of public events since then have not put an end to Democrats’ questions about whether Biden can win or hold up through another four years in office.

Conversations were certain to intensify when lawmakers return to Capitol Hill on Monday. Several senior House Democrats called for Biden to drop out in a Sunday phone call, several media reported, though others said they supported his candidacy.

In a letter to Democrats, Biden said he was aware of their concerns but said it was time to close ranks.

“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.”

Democrats face an uphill battle defending their 51-49 US Senate majority, with incumbents up for reelection in multiple Republican-leaning states, and some in the party view recapturing a House majority as their best chance of keeping a hold on one of the levers of power in Washington should Trump, 78, win back the White House he lost to Biden in 2020.

Biden will go on meeting voters at churches, union halls and other venues in coming days, administration officials said. At the same time he plans to reach out to lawmakers he has known for decades, they said, as he tries to calm concerns.

A growing number of Democratic lawmakers have voiced concern his poor public approval ratings, plus concerns about his age and ability, could hurt the party in the roughly two dozen most competitive House races. Vice President Kamala Harris is seen as the likeliest successor should Biden step aside.

Biden on Sunday, July 7, made a series of campaign appearances in Pennsylvania, a battleground state that traditionally can decide an election. He was joined by Senator John Fetterman, a high-profile Democrat who has rejected calls for Biden to drop out.

The age factor

A Reuters/Ipsos poll last week found that one in three Democratic registered voters believed that Biden should quit the race, with 59% of respondents in the president’s party saying he is too old to work in government.

Biden’s troubles appear to be increasing the number of races Democrats need to worry about in November.

Internal party polling shows that New Mexico and Virginia became more competitive following the debate, according to a source familiar with the findings, and the nonpartisan Center for Politics at the University of Virginia last week shifted its ratings on the states of Michigan and Minnesota to make each slightly more favorable for Republicans.

Together, those states will host a half-dozen of the most competitive House races, a meaningful number given that Republicans control the chamber by a narrow 219-213 margin.

Republicans’ 19 months in the majority have been marked by chaos, including the unprecedented ouster of their former speaker, Kevin McCarthy. Both McCarthy and his successor, Mike Johnson, have repeatedly had to turn to Democrats for votes to pass critical legislation, including bills to keep the government open and to avert a historic and catastrophic default on the nation’s debt.

If Republicans were to capture the White House and both houses of Congress, Trump would face few constraints on his ability to push through major policy changes. – Rappler.com

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