Biden opposes idea of ​​dropping out: 2024 election live updates

President Biden’s increasingly emphatic statements that he will not withdraw from the presidential race send an unmistakable message to potential wayward Democrats: Any criticism in the future will harm the party’s chances against Donald J. Trump.

For days, Biden has said he will remain his party’s nominee after his poor debate, barring an intervention from “the Lord Almighty.” On Monday, he put that claim into action.

It began with an open letter to congressional Democrats saying he was definitely running. It continued with a defiant appearance on one of his favorite cable news shows criticizing the “elites” trying to push him out. It included an afternoon appearance on a private video call with some of his campaign’s top donors, as well as a planned private virtual meeting Monday night with a stronghold of his past support: the Congressional Black Caucus.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Biden told donors.

The moves amounted to a show of defiance that the Biden operation hoped would earn him some respect as restive Democratic lawmakers returned to Capitol Hill from a holiday break. At the same time, the Biden team sought to reframe the pressure campaign to force him out of office as one hatched by the elite party establishment rather than a genuine reflection of grassroots voters’ fears about the age and acuity of the 81-year-old commander in chief.

“I love running against Joe Biden,” said Rep. Robert Garcia of California, a Democrat and a vocal Biden supporter. “If he takes a hit, he’s going to come back and hit harder.”

In both his private and public remarks on Monday, Mr. Biden made clear that he holds all the cards in determining his political future. He has won every state in the Democratic primary and 14 million votes, giving him virtually every delegate heading to Chicago for the party’s convention next month.

“I am more than the person I am supposed to be,” Biden corrected Mika Brzezinski, one of the co-hosts of “Morning Joe,” during his MSNBC phone interview. “I am going to be the Democratic nominee.”

Biden tries to turn the spotlight back on Trump, saying during the call with top campaign donors: “We’re done talking about the debate. It’s time to put Trump in the spotlight.”

A Biden rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Sunday. Biden said his campaign weekend in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin had confirmed his belief that voters were behind him.Credit…Haiyun Jiang for The New York Times

Even some of the president’s allies, however, questioned why the public relations blitz came more than 10 days after the debate rather than right afterward. Biden waited eight days after the debate to sit down for his first unscripted interview, with ABC News on Friday, and he didn’t call congressional leaders until days after the debate.

David Doak, a veteran Democratic strategist, said the effort to impose party discipline was understandable for Biden, even if it risks “dividing the party at the worst time.” By emphasizing so unequivocally that he will not step aside, Biden makes it harder for Democrats to call on him to do so, lest they weaken him ahead of the fall.

“Strategically, that’s what I would advise him to do if he wanted to keep the nomination at all costs,” Mr. Doak said. “It’s ‘at all costs’ that’s the issue at hand.”

On MSNBC, Biden urged those who wanted another candidate to run against him. “Go ahead, announce your run,” Biden challenged them. “Challenge me at the convention.”

In 2020, Biden spoke of serving as a “bridge” to the next generation of Democratic talent. Now he sees himself as the party’s best chance to defeat Trump again, despite widespread concerns about his age.

“I would not run if I were not absolutely convinced that I am the best candidate to defeat Donald Trump in 2024,” Biden said.

Despite his position as the party’s leader and the most powerful elected official in the country, Biden on Monday attempted to assume the role of outsider to fend off his own party’s establishment.

“I get so frustrated with the elites,” Mr. Biden said on the MSNBC show that has long been a favorite of the Democratic political establishment. “I’m not talking about you,” he said of the “Morning Joe” co-hosts, “I’m talking about the elites in the party who, they know so much more.” He delivered those last words with a singsong tone of contempt.

He added that his campaign weekend in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin had confirmed his belief that voters were behind him. “I don’t care what the millionaires think,” Biden said.

Less than three hours later, Biden joined a Zoom call with members of his national finance committee — the biggest donors, millionaires and financiers who pool contributions from others — to thank them for their support.

Biden’s attempt to reframe the race as a battle against elites — echoing how Trump has often criticized his own party’s leadership — has not been well received in some quarters within the party.

“This desire to turn the ‘Dem elite’ against ‘regular people’ is bad,” veteran Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen wrote on X. “The elite are actually late to the game in worrying about Biden. A majority of voters have been worried about this for two years.”

A New York Times/Siena College poll released last week found that 74 percent of voters thought Biden was too old to be effective, including 59 percent of Democrats.

A day after several influential House Democrats met virtually in a private call and expressed concerns about backing Biden, the president’s operation began to fall in line and received more messages of support, including from several key Black lawmakers.

“I stand behind the president 100 percent,” Rep. Joyce Beatty of Ohio, a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, said on MSNBC. The current chair, Rep. Steven Horsford of Nevada, also issued a statement Monday endorsing Mr. Biden: “President Joe Biden is the nominee and was chosen by millions of voters across this country.”

Rep. Grace Meng of New York, a former vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, also issued a supportive statement. Some of those who had criticized Biden in private have remained largely silent in public, including Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, who declined to answer questions about the president during an appearance in Manhattan.

Still, Biden continued to face new doubts among Democrats on Monday.

Montana Sen. Jon Tester said Biden had to prove to voters he could serve for four more years.Credit…Kent Nishimura for The New York Times

Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, who is running for re-election this fall in a state where Trump is expected to win an overwhelming majority, said the president “has to prove to the American people — including me — that he is up to the job for another four years.”

And Representative Greg Landsman of Ohio said “time is running out” for Mr. Biden, who he said needed to be able to make his case “over and over and over again.”

Biden’s next steps are expected to be the central topic of conversation on Tuesday, when House Democrats hold a members-only briefing at party headquarters.

The biggest concern for many of Biden’s allies is the president’s ability — or inability — to handle unprepared performances.

On Monday, White House spokesman John Kirby announced that the president would also participate in what he called a “major press conference” on Thursday following a NATO summit.

But in a sign of the challenges ahead for the president, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre had to shrug off questions at the same briefing about why a Parkinson’s expert had visited the White House eight times in eight months.

Ron Klain, Biden’s former chief of staff who helped him prepare for the debate, wrote on X that “it takes the right candidate” to beat Trump and that “experts have always bet on verbally gifted opponents — Ds and Rs — who have lost.”

“Only one person hit him,” Mr Klain added.

Patrick McGeehan And Nicholas Nehamas contributed to the reporting.

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