Life is a Lemon: Biden donors demand their money back after president’s debate performance

If the president stepped aside, only Kamala Harris would be able to make use of the funds

Andrew Feinberg
Washington DC
Monday 01 July 2024 22:34

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Louise Thomas

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Top contributors to President Joe Biden’s re-election bid are inquiring about having their campaign donations refunded after the 81-year-old chief executive delivered a meandering and tottering performance at his first 2024 election debate with Donald Trump last week.

During the 90-minute session at CNN’s studios in Atlanta last week, Biden had trouble forming coherent answers to questions at times and on several occasions lost his train of thought. In doing so, he realized the worst fears of allies and supporters who have, until now, pushed back on allegations that the oldest man to ever serve as president is simply too old to serve another four-year term.

Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez told donors in a private campaign call over the weekend that over $33 million had been raised in the days since the debate, with hundreds of new applications from potential volunteers coming in as well.

According to NBC News, one participant on the donor call said many of those who dialed in “are frightened” in the wake of Biden’s disappointing performance.

“There were some tough comments from those on the call. Some were upset that they are just hearing campaign talking points,” the participant said.

They added that some Biden donors have gone so far as to ask about getting their money back.

Over the weekend, calls for Biden to stand down have come from top newspapers and some prominent supporters of the 46th president.

But Chavez has advised donors that were Biden to step aside, only Vice President Kamala Harris could make use of the millions in the Biden-Harris campaign war chest, leaving it unclear how Democrats could move ahead with any ticket that doesn’t include the sitting vice president.

Biden has been cloistered at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Thurmont, Maryland, since returning from a campaign and fundraising swing to North Carolina and New York in the immediate aftermath of the debate.

A White House source says the confab with relatives has been long-planned and included a photo shoot with celebrity photographer Annie Liebovitz.

Thus far, the Biden campaign has indicated that the president will stay in the race.

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