Congressional leaders privately suggest they’re open to new Democratic ticket as Biden campaign spirals

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are both making moves behind the scenes as President Joe Biden remains in damage control mode following his disastrous debate on June 27.

While Schumer has signaled to donors that he’s open to a ticket not topped by Biden, Pelosi is privately urging swing seat Democrats to do whatever they have to do to save their jobs, even if that means publicly calling for Biden to step aside.

The Senate leader’s private take on the situation has differed from his public statements, which have been strongly supportive of Biden, Axios reported.

Schumer has been fielding input from donors over the last couple of weeks about what’s the best path forward, three people familiar with the situation told the outlet. The leader is one of the few Democrats — along with former President Barack Obama and Pelosi — who has the political standing and personal relationship with the president to possibly convince him to step aside.

Meanwhile, Biden has continued to insist he has no plans to ditch the race.

“As I have made clear repeatedly publicly and privately, I support President Biden and remain committed to ensuring Donald Trump is defeated in November,” Schumer told Axios.

The outlet reported that he has not made any suggestions about who could replace Biden at the top of the ticket.

In private calls, Schumer has entertained the idea that Biden may need to replaced on the top of the ticket. (Getty Images)
In private calls, Schumer has entertained the idea that Biden may need to replaced on the top of the ticket. (Getty Images)

Pelosi appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Wednesday, where she refused to say if she thinks Biden should remain at the top of the ticket — and suggested the president still has time to change his mind.

“It’s up to the president to [decide] if he’s going to run. We’re all encouraging him to make that decision because time is running short,” she said.

Pelosi has suggested in private conversations that Biden can’t win this fall and that he should step aside, Politico reports. She’s also reportedly advising vulnerable lawmakers in swing states to do what they need to do to secure their re-election, including asking Biden to remove himself from the race.

But the former speaker has asked those members to hold off until the end of the ongoing NATO summit to make their statements. A number of members have begun drafting statements of what they want to say, the outlet reported.

Members who aren’t in vulnerable seats have been told by Pelosi to share their concerns directly with the White House or the campaign to prevent the chaos from spilling out into the public eye. Some have attempted and failed to get in touch with Biden.

But a Pelosi spokesperson rejected the notion that she’s part of an effort to push Biden out of the race in a statement on Wednesday.

“Publicly and privately, Speaker Pelosi has acknowledged the concerns that many have expressed in recent days but has repeatedly said that she fully supports whatever President Biden decides to do,” a spokesperson told Politico.

Meanwhile, it’s become quite clear that lawmakers are ignoring Biden’s demand to “end” talk of his replacement. In a letter to congressional Democrats on Monday, Biden said he’s “firmly committed to staying in the race.”

Instead, more elected Democrats have come out calling for him to step aside. So far, nine House Democrats and one Democratic senator have publicly called for Biden to go. But none of the party’s 23 governors, several of whom are top contenders to replace him, have called for the president to step aside.