Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

Biden turns to family on his path forward after his disastrous debate: ‘It’s a mess’

By 37ci3 Jun30,2024



WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden is expected to discuss the future of his re-election campaign with his family on Sunday. debilitating national televised debate A Thursday that left many Democratic comrades were worried 5, about his ability to defeat former President Donald Trump in November people familiar with the matter.

Biden’s visit to Camp David is scheduled before Thursday’s debate. He and first lady Jill Biden will be joined by their children and grandchildren later Saturday.

So far, top party leaders have offered public support for Biden, including through tweets from former presidents. Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. big congressional democratsRepresentatives Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Jim Clyburn of South Carolina and Nancy Pelosi of California have privately expressed concerns about his viability, two sources familiar with the discussions said, even as they all publicly support the president.

One Democratic House member who believes Biden should drop out, but has yet to publicly call for it, told NBC News that three of his colleagues expressed the same sentiment to him during the House vote on Friday.

At the same time, there is an understanding among senior Democrats that Biden should be given room to determine the next steps. They believe that only the president can decide whether to move forward or end his campaign early in consultation with his family, and that he will not respond well to pushback.

“There are two people who make the decision — the president and his wife,” said one of the sources familiar with the discussions, adding, “Anyone who doesn’t understand how personal and familial this decision will be is not. situation.”

This is the account of a president and his party in crisis With just under four months to go before an election they say will determine the fate of democracy, more than a dozen Democratic officials, operatives, aides and donors are interviewed. They all spoke on condition of anonymity to describe sensitive issues such as whether the incumbent would decline to seek re-election and how he might be replaced on the ballot.

Despite delivery rousing speech At a rally in North Carolina on Friday that reassured some of his allies, Biden described himself as humiliated, lacking in confidence and painfully understood by someone familiar with his mood and his physical presence in the debate — the faraway eyes, the mouth. agape — a performance that is sometimes meandering, inadequate, and hard to hear — will live on beyond his presidency.

“It’s a mess,” this person said.

Another person familiar with the dynamic said Biden will ultimately listen to just one adviser.

“The only person who has the ultimate influence over her is the first lady,” the person said. “If he decides to change course, there will be a change of course.”

Anita Dunn, one of Biden’s closest advisers, told MSNBC’s “The Weekend” Saturday that Biden has not discussed dropping out of the race with aides and that internal talks are focused on moving forward.

“We had a bad argument,” Dunn said. “What will we do next? You know, the president, above all else, cares about what we’re going to do next? What do I have to do?”

Those private discussions between Biden, family members and top advisers come amid a reckoning for Democrats shocked both by Biden’s appearance and the frequency with which his train of thought veered off track.

His campaign held a conference call with members of the Democratic National Committee on Saturday, which a Biden campaign official described as an effort to reassure party officials and demonstrate that his team is reaching out to allies.

“We are managing it,” the official said.

House leaders have not publicly wavered and their aides have denied expressing doubts behind closed doors.

“Speaker Pelosi has the utmost confidence in President Biden and looks forward to attending his inauguration on January 20, 2025,” said Jan Krager, a spokesman for the former House speaker. “Any suggestion that he would have taken a different course of action is simply not true.”

Christie Stephenson, a spokeswoman for House Minority Leader Jeffries, said her boss has “repeatedly stated publicly and privately that he supports President Joe Biden and the Democratic ticket from top to bottom.”

Clyburn’s office did not respond to a request for comment, but he told reporters Friday that he was still with Biden.

Biden’s top aides and advisers told his staff to stay on track in meetings and discussions. Their message, according to a senior administration official: “As always, we will weather the storm.”

The sources described three buckets of Democrats: those who will defend Biden in any situation, those who are ready to dump him and those who are waiting to see what he does – and what his poll numbers will look like in the coming days and weeks – first. to judge. This is the third bucket closely watched by Democratic insiders.

“Democrats need to take a big breath and look at the polls, look at the swing voters,” said one state Democratic Party chairman. “Until I see something different, he’s the person who brought this coalition together, he’s the person who has the record, he’s the person who defeated Donald Trump. Until I see something different, he’s still the best person to beat Donald Trump.”

The Biden campaign declined to comment for this piece, instead pointing to a memo from campaign chairwoman Jen O’Malley Dillon on Saturday claiming Biden could still win, pointing to the more than $27 million they raised between debate day and Thursday.

Notably, however, O’Malley Dillon nodded to the possibility that there could be some tough elections ahead – but said the blame would lie with the media: “If we see changes in the polls in the coming weeks, it won’t be the first. when overblown media narratives caused temporary dips in the polls.

The debate among some Democrats includes weighing what might be the party’s best way to defeat Trump — sticking with the 81-year-old incumbent, who could have another moment like Thursday night anytime between now and Election Day, or going with another candidate. The path to nomination at the party’s convention next month could be a messy process.

Biden he insisted on Friday In November, he announced that he would remain the party’s standard-bearer, telling a crowd at a rally in Virginia that “I would not have run again if I didn’t believe with all my heart and soul that I could do this job.”

The president has spent much of the last 48 hours attending fundraisers with some of the Democrats most concerned about the impact of his debate performance.

He spoke about it at an event on Saturday.

“I understand the concern about the debate — I do,” he said. “I didn’t have a great night.”

One major donor close to both Obama and Biden said party elites would urge him to drop out if they determined he was “not viable and adversely affecting the House and Senate races.”

Inherent in the wait-and-see approach is an acknowledgment that there is no clear replacement for Biden, and that his departure could touch off an 11th-hour bloody intra-party battle that could allow Trump to cruise to victory.

There is also one there is no possible way forcing him from his seat. All but a handful of delegates to the Democratic convention were elected on promises to nominate him at the party’s convention in August. If he wants to run, party insiders say he will.

Moreover, according to a senior Democratic official, if Biden drops out after receiving the nomination, the party leadership will have more control over the selection of a replacement than it did before. After the candidate is officially nominated, the National Committee members of the Democratic Party choose a successor. Biden is the dominant force in the DNC, and his preference for a successor will undoubtedly prevail.

Had Biden gotten out earlier, his representatives would have been able to do whatever they wanted — but they wouldn’t have been shut down like they are now. In this scenario, delegates can nominate any person and there can be a political fight at the convention.

“We have to be as disciplined as we are emotional,” a senior Democratic official said. “It’s not politically smart for Biden to resign.”



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