Joe Biden says only 'Lord Almighty' can make him pull out of White House race

Joe Biden says only 'Lord Almighty' can make him pull out of White House race

President Joe Biden battled to put down an uprising among some Democrats pushing him to abandon his reelection campaign after a poor debate performance, vowing that “I’m staying in the race.”

In a fiery speech to supporters in Wisconsin and in an ABC News interview, Mr Biden argued he is the best Democratic candidate to prevent Republican Donald Trump from regaining the White House in the November 5 election.

Mr Biden’s halting performance at his debate with Trump on June 27 raised serious concerns among some Democrats about his mental acuity and stamina at age 81.

There is a movement afoot in the party to persuade him to step aside, with critics warning he faces near-certain defeat and could drag other Democrats down with him. House Democrats and a group of senators are expected to convene on the topic when they return to Washington next week.

Some public opinion polls have shown Trump widening a lead since the debate, and a Reuters/Ipsos poll found that one in three Democrats want Mr Biden to quit the race.

“We had a little debate last week. Can’t say it was my best performance. But ever since then there’s been a lot of speculation. ‘What’s Joe gonna do? Is he gonna stay in the race? Is he gonna drop out?” Mr Biden said. “Well here’s my answer: I am running and gonna win again.”

Mr Biden used a 22-minute ABC News interview to argue again that he simply had a bad night at the debate but was otherwise fine.

Under persistent questioning from ABC interviewer George Stephanopoulos, Mr Biden dismissed polls that showed him trailing Trump and said other polls have him in a better position.

Asked if he had undergone a specific cognitive test for a neurological exam, Mr Biden said he had not had one and “no one said I had to.”

Mr Biden added he was the best candidate to take on Trump and that only “Lord almighty” could oust him from the race.

Mr Biden’s latest efforts to convince Democrats to stick with him were dismissed by some, although he seemed determined to fight on.

“He seems not to be able to compute the fact that people have these questions about him,” Democratic strategist David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, told CNN.

“It’s pretty clear that he’s not going anywhere unless there’s a major revolt on the Hill,” a senior Democratic National Committee official told Reuters.

A handful of donors and business leaders are making their displeasure with Mr Biden’s candidacy known loudly, halting funding or looking at possible Democratic alternatives.

Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey issued a statement on Friday asking Mr Biden to weigh the decision carefully, the rare Democratic governor not to issue a statement of support in recent days.

“President Biden saved our democracy in 2020 and has done an outstanding job over the last four years,” she said. “The best way forward right now is a decision for the president to make. Over the coming days, I urge him to listen to the American people and carefully evaluate whether he remains our best hope to defeat Donald Trump.”

Trump’s campaign and some of his allies have launched a pre-emptive political strike on Vice President Kamala Harris, moving swiftly to try to discredit her.

Trump, 78, who made multiple false statements during the debate in Atlanta, falsely claimed in a video that was circulated on social media that he had driven Mr Biden out of the race. He made disparaging comments about Ms Harris in the same video, which the Trump campaign stood by.