Joe Biden Dares Democratic Doubters To Challenge Him

President Joe Biden struck a defiant tone on Monday, daring his critics to run against him at the Democratic convention if they opposed his decision to stay on as the presumptive presidential nominee.

Calling in to NBC’s “Morning Joe,” Biden dismissed calls from some Democratic lawmakers, newspaper editorial boards and political commentators urging him to drop out of the 2024 race after his shaky debate performance with Donald Trump, insisting that “average Democrats” are with him.

“I’m getting so frustrated by the elites in the party. ... They know so much more,” Biden said. “If any of these guys don’t think I should run, run against me. Announce for president, challenge me at the convention.”

“I don’t care what those big names think. They were wrong in 2020,” he added, referring to columnists at The New York Times and elsewhere who have urged him to step aside for a younger presidential nominee.

Responding to similar worries from some Democratic donors, Biden said, “I don’t care what the millionaires think.”

Biden’s 3,896 delegates are pledged to him, and the only way one could mount a serious challenge to his candidacy at the Democratic National Convention next month is if he released them. Given his comments on Monday and his letter to congressional Democrats making clear he won’t be stepping aside, that’s not likely to happen.

What might persuade Biden to step aside, however, is other party elders telling him it is time to go. So far, top congressional Democrats and former Democratic presidents are sticking with Biden. That could change if polls show voter concerns with Biden’s fitness drag down Democratic candidates for the House and Senate.

On Sunday, four Democrats who serve as senior party members on their House committees — Reps. Jerry Nadler (N.Y.), Joe Morelle (N.Y.), Mark Takano (Calif.) and Adam Smith (Wash.) — reportedly said in a phone call with party leaders that Biden should step aside.

That came after one House Democrat seen as vulnerable in her reelection fight, Rep. Angie Craig (Minn.), said she thought Biden should not run.

“President Biden is a good man & I appreciate his lifetime of service. But I believe he should step aside for the next generation of leadership. The stakes are too high,” Craig wrote in a social media post.

The debate over Biden’s political future is likely to heat up as Congress returns from its holiday recess this week. Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.), for example, said Monday that persistent Democratic hand-wringing over Biden would be “deeply self-destructive” if he remains the nominee.

“Those publicly calling on President Biden to withdraw should ask themselves a simple question: what if the President becomes the Democratic nominee?” Torres wrote in a social media post.

“The drip, drip, drip of public statements of no confidence only serve to weaken a President who has been weakened not only by the debate but also by the debate about the debate. Weakening a weakened nominee seems like a losing strategy for a presidential election.”