Congressional Democrats huddle as Biden insists he won’t drop out of presidential race

Congressional Democrats huddled Tuesday as President Joe Biden insisted he won’t drop out of the race against former President Donald Trump over last month’s poor debate performance.

With questions still swirling about Biden, House Democrats met for two hours behind closed doors to hash out some lawmakers’ doubts about his ability to beat Trump and serve four more years in the White House.

Although most lawmakers kept their opinions to themselves, several Black representatives voiced strong support for the incumbent and predicted he would win if Democrats unite behind him.

“We’re all united (and) we understand one thing: The existential threat to America is Donald Trump,” Rep. Greg Meeks of Queens said on CNN.

“We can do this if we focus on the real threat: Donald Trump, Project 2025 and MAGA,” added Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas), referring to a controversial far right-wing blueprint for a potential second Trump term.

Rep. Jerry Nadler, an upper West Side liberal, was one of several senior Democrats who said Biden should step aside over the weekend on a Democratic leadership call.

But he emerged from the meeting Tuesday saying that it is “dispositive” that Biden says he won’t drop out: “The president says he’s running (and) we have to support him.”

Six Democratic lawmakers have publicly called for Biden to drop out of the race.

Senate Democrats were set to gather at a weekly luncheon. None of them has openly called on Biden to step down at this stage, although some have expressed doubts about him.

So far, Biden has managed to prevent wholesale mass defections among Democratic lawmakers, who returned to Washington D.C. after a weeklong break.

He has come out swinging, accusing unnamed “elites” of trying to force him out of the race. He claimed to be speaking on behalf of the party’s base of working-class, Latino and especially Black voters.

Some Biden supporters suggested he has effectively doused the firestorm of criticism over his debate performance.

The clock is ticking for Democrats to decide whether to stick with Biden or try to dump him and switch to another presidential candidate.

Biden controls the overwhelming majority of delegates to the Democratic National Convention in mid-August, meaning he would have to agree to step aside, which he insists he won’t do.

If Biden wins the nomination at the convention, it would be much more difficult, if not impossible, to switch candidates later if he suffers another setback, particularly since some states start early voting in September.