More and More Supporters Are Turning Their Backs on Biden

Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images
Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The holiday weekend has done little to quell concerns within Joe Biden’s camp about his participation in the 2024 race, with numerous reports indicating Biden has just days to turn the storyline around.

On Saturday, The New York Times revealed it had spoken to at least 50 Democrats in the last week, with the consensus from officials, lawmakers and strategists that Biden’s presence in the race had become “unsustainable,” the newspaper reported.

President Biden, who was pictured attending church services at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington, Delaware, on Saturday, has been on the defensive since his disastrous debate with rival Donald Trump last month, repeatedly insisting he will not back down. An ABC News interview with George Stephanopoulos on Friday night, however, did little to assuage fears about his candidacy.

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Vice President Kamala Harrissaid to be the favorite to take over should Biden step down—has stayed defiant against Biden critics, remaining loyal in appearances after the debate. On Saturday, at the Essence Festival of Culture in New Orleans, though she “barely mentioned” Biden at all, according to the Associated Press, Harris did make an impassioned plea to the crowd at the nation’s largest annual celebration of Black culture. “In 122 days, we each have the power to decide what kind of country we want to live in,” she said.

Others, however, seem less convinced.

“I have less and less confidence in this campaign’s ability to win this race,” Representative Scott Peters, Democrat of California, told The Times in an interview. “If we know we’re going to lose, we would be foolish not to look at another course.”

A similar sentiment was echoed to The Times by Rep. Angie Craig, Democrat of Minnesota, who said a statement, “I do not believe that the president can effectively campaign and win against Donald Trump.”

Craig became the fifth House Democrat to publicly call for Biden to drop out of the race Saturday, saying in a post on X that, “there is simply too much at stake.”

Craig joins Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) in calling for Biden to step down.

“The drip drip is about to be more than that,” one unidentified lawmaker earlier told Axios.

U.S. President Joe Biden arrives at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church for a mass on July 6, 2024 in Wilmington, Delaware.

Virginia Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly meanwhile, in an appearance on CNN, said Biden was a “man that I revere,” but claimed Biden “might not be” the man to beat Trump, saying Biden’s debate performance was “more than a bad night.”

Mark LaChey, the former first vice chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, was more pointed to The Times: “It would be good for him to realize that no one is irreplaceable,” LaChey said, adding, “a lot of people would be very enthused with someone else running on the Democratic ticket as president. And I think there’s an enthusiasm gap presently, and I think that gap is getting worse.”

This came hot on the heels of Hawaii’s Democratic governor Josh Green— who was in attendance at Wednesday’s meeting with Biden—and a host of other Democratic governors telling the Associated Press Saturday that a decision on whether Biden remains in the race could be made within days.

If Biden chooses to opt out, Green said, it will be Harris who replaces him.

“I think the president stays in this race unless he feels that it is not winnable, or he feels that he has to hear other voices in his inner circle that he shouldn’t run,” Green told the Associated Press. “If the president felt that he wasn’t up to it and truly not up to it, he would step down.

“We’ll probably know in the next couple of days how the president feels about all this.”

Those few days will give Biden precious time to win back his doubters, who are “hoping to give him space to do this on his own,” reports Axios. According to The Times, a Democratic member of Congress, a former high-ranking Obama administration official and a senior aide to a prominent Democratic governor described Biden’s future with the same one word: “untenable.”

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Biden appears to be listening. Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, a campaign co-chair, told CNN that the president asked campaign co-chairs for “honest input” in a call Saturday morning.

“The Biden campaign co-chairs had a constructive, wide-open positive call today with the president that lasted more than an hour where he was asking for honest input and advice on the best path forward,” Coons said. The exact outcome of the call is unclear.

However, all is not lost for the Biden campaign. Most members in the Democratic National Committee were still in favor of a Biden presidency, The Times noted, despite “fissures” emerging.

Coons also shared footage of the Biden interview on X, writing, “I can’t wait to help him continue to take the fight to Trump and win in November.”

Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) has also been a vocal supporter of Biden in the days since the debate and ABC News interview, telling CNN that voters should focus on Trump’s record rather than Biden’s cognitive ability.

“I don’t know why we’re not talking more about Donald Trump,” he quipped.

Michigan Dem Rep. Haley Stevens and Texas’ Sheila Jackson Lee have also expressed their support.

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Ohio Democratic Rep. Joyce Beatty, who was the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus from 2021 to 2023, urged the audience at the Essence Festival Saturday to “stick” with it.

“We’ve all had a bad day,” Beatty told the audience, according to CNN. “One of the things we’re doing is sticking with him.”

For his part, Trump mocked support for Biden on Saturday, clearly impressed by the backlash against the president.

“Crooked Joe Biden should ignore his many critics and move forward, with alacrity and strength, with his powerful and far reaching campaign. He should be sharp, precise, and energetic, just like he was in The Debate…” Trump wrote on Truth Social.

“Yes, Sleepy Joe should continue his campaign of American Destruction and, MAKE CHINA GREAT AGAIN!”

Biden is not set to speak publicly until Thursday, at the conclusion of the NATO summit, where he is scheduled to hold his first official press conference since the debate.

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