These major media outlets have called for Biden to drop out

Some of the country’s largest media outlets have called on President Biden to step aside and allow another Democrat to take on former President Trump in November, following the president’s concerning debate performance last week.

Biden’s first debate performance raised alarms among some Democrats and supporters, with the president struggling to string ideas together or rebut Trump’s many false statements. Almost half of Democrats in a new poll say Biden should allow a different candidate to take the party’s nomination.

Here are the major outlets that have called on Biden to drop out of the race.

The New York Times

The Times, which has battled with Biden’s campaign for months over its coverage of the president, said that Biden should step aside to “serve his country,” in a searing editorial on Friday.

Using his own rationale, the Times board agreed with Biden that former President Trump poses a serious risk to democracy, but that Biden isn’t the best candidate to defeat him.

“At Thursday’s debate, the president needed to convince the American public that he was equal to the formidable demands of the office he is seeking to hold for another term,” the board wrote. “Voters, however, cannot be expected to ignore what was instead plain to see: Mr. Biden is not the man he was four years ago.”

The publication called Biden’s campaign a “reckless gamble,” noting that there is “no reason for the party to risk” a second Trump term for the sake of Biden.

It was also critical of Trump, calling his own debate performance “disqualifying” for his repeated lies and refusal to commit to accepting the November election results.

The New Yorker

David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, evoked Mark Twain to describe Biden’s performance in last week’s debate, remarking on the president’s age.

“It is sad to go to pieces like this, but we all have to do it,” he quoted Twain.

Remnick blasted Biden as “no longer a fluid or effective communicator” of his policies, and described the president as “increasingly unsteady.”

“For him to remain the Democratic candidate, the central actor in that referendum, would be an act not only of self-delusion but of national endangerment,” he wrote.

The alternative course of action, letting another candidate take the combination, would be an “act of patriotism.”

“To refuse to do so, to go on contending that his good days are more plentiful than the bad, to ignore the inevitability of time and aging, doesn’t merely risk his legacy — it risks the election and, most important, puts in peril the very issues and principles that Biden has framed as central to his Presidency and essential to the future,” Remnick wrote.

“There is no shame in growing old,” he concluded. “There is honor in recognizing the hard demands of the moment.”

The Economist

Britain’s largest current affairs magazine doubled down on its repeated calls for Biden not to run again on Friday. Its own editorial said in stepping down, Biden “would help rescue America from an emergency.”

The Economist first said Biden shouldn’t run for a second term in late 2022, and emphasized the position with a cover story in January.

It’s description of last week’s debate called the president “befuddled and incoherent—too infirm, frankly, to cope with another four years in the world’s hardest job.”

“The Republicans have long said that Mr. Biden’s powers are fading. The debate was his great chance to prove them wrong,” the magazine wrote. “Alas, in front of many millions of people, he did not just fail to rebut his opponents, he presented irrefutable evidence to back them up.”

The publication called on Vice President Harris to take the mantle from Biden, but noted that there are also other Democrats who could easily fill his shoes: Cabinet secretaries Pete Buttigieg and Gina Raimondo; Govs. Gretchen Whitmer (Mich.), Josh Shapiro (Pa.), Andy Beshear (Ky.), Gavin Newsom (Calif.) and Jared Polis (Colo.); and Sen. Raphael Warnock (Ga.).

“Thursday’s debate was designed to answer the question of whether Mr. Biden was fit to be president — and in this it succeeded,” the magazine wrote. “It has brought clarity to a race that currently offers Americans a choice between two candidates they do not want. Mr. Biden and his party have been given the chance to avoid a dire fate for their country and the world. They should seize it.”

Chicago Tribune

The Tribune, the Midwest’s largest newspaper, said last week’s debate should be met with just one word: “Enough.”

With harsh criticisms of both Trump and Biden — calling them “two gnarly old men” and “clowns” — the publication’s editorial board said the idea of Biden serving four more years as president is “ridiculous.”

“Everyone sees that the Democratic Party, which effectively closed down the primaries, and the White House, which painted a picture of fictional cognitive vitality, have been covering up a reality that they must have seen but clearly wished were otherwise,” the board wrote.

“Biden, if we’ve not made that clear, should announce that he will be a single-term president who now has seen the light when it comes to his own capabilities in the face of the singular demands of being the president of the United States,” it continued. “He can do so with honor, but he is the only person who can do so. Certainly, his family can help. But, again, he is the only one.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Journal-Constitution’s editorial board also did not mince words. “It’s time for Biden to pass the torch,” the piece is titled.

Leaning on the words of George Washington in his farewell address, the board said that there is reasonable precedent for finding the right time to step aside.

“Every day the increasing weight of years admonishes me more and more that the shade of retirement is as necessary to me as it will be welcome,” Washington wrote.

“The shade of retirement is now necessary for President Biden,” the board said.

The board also blasted the Biden campaign explanation that the president had a cold during the debate as “insulting.”

“This wasn’t a bad night; it was confirmation of the worst fears of some of Biden’s most ardent supporters — that after 36 years in the U.S. Senate, eight more as vice president and a term in the White House, age has finally caught up to him,” the board wrote.

“Biden’s candidacy was grounded in his incumbency and the belief of Democratic leaders and pollsters that he stood the best chance of defeating Trump in November,” it continued. “That is no longer the case.”

Other calls

Other newspapers weren’t as direct. Both The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal editorial boards said bowing out should be seriously considered by the president, though neither went as far as to explicitly recommend it.

“For the good of the country, more even than their party, Democrats have some hard thinking to do about whether they need to replace him at the top of their ticket,” the Journal’s board wrote said, painting the debate as one of patriotic decisionmaking instead of stabbing an incumbent in the back.

The Post’s board acknowledged that Biden stepping down wouldn’t guarantee a Democratic victory, pointing to the chaos at the 1968 Democratic convention after Lyndon Johnson declined a second term.

The swing state of Pennsylvania’s largest newspaper took a different direction. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s editorial board instead called on Trump to step down.

“President Joe Biden’s debate performance was a disaster,” the board wrote. “But lost in the hand wringing was Donald Trump’s usual bombastic litany of lies, hyperbole, bigotry, ignorance, and fear mongering. His performance demonstrated once again that he is a danger to democracy and unfit for office.”

The Inquirer board wrote that Trump is an “unserious carnival barker” who played too much golf and watched too much TV while in office.

While acknowledging Biden’s lackluster performance, it also included some encouragement for the president.

“Biden must show that he is up to the job,” the board wrote. “This much is clear: He has a substantive record of real accomplishments, fighting the pandemic, combating climate change, investing in infrastructure, and supporting working families and the most vulnerable.”

“There was only one person at the debate who does not deserve to be running for president,” it continued. “The sooner Trump exits the stage, the better off the country will be.”

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.