Biden says ‘voters have spoken’ and refuses to consider standing down in letter to congressional Democrats

‘I have heard the concerns that people have — their good faith fears and worries about what is at stake in this election. I am not blind to them,’ he said

Andrew Feinberg
at the White House
Monday 08 July 2024 17:11
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President Biden is refusing calls to exit the presidential race in favor of a younger candidate amid questions over his age
President Biden is refusing calls to exit the presidential race in favor of a younger candidate amid questions over his age (AP)

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President Joe Biden is attempting to head off calls for him to step aside with a defiant letter to congressional Democrats, in which he says exiting the race would be an affront to democracy.

Biden’s missive, which he released publicly on his X account on Monday ahead of Congress’s return to Washington, opens with a declaration that he is “firmly committed” to remaining a candidate in this year’s presidential election and to “running this race to the end, and to beating Donald Trump”.

The president also said he has conducted what he described as “extensive conversations” with party leaders, elected officials and rank-and-file congressional Democrats — as well as Democratic voters — in the 10-plus days since his vacant, rambling performance at his first debate with Trump left members of his party shocked and frightened of the possibility that the 81-year-old president is not up to the task of campaigning for a second term.

“I have heard the concerns that people have — their good faith fears and worries about what is at stake in this election. I am not blind to them,” he wrote.

He added: “I can respond to all this by saying clearly and unequivocally: I wouldn't be running again if I did not absolutely believe I was the best person to beat Donald Trump in 2024.”

Biden echoed his claim that calls for him to stand aside are anti-democratic with a surprise phone-in to MSNBC’s Morning Joe, in which he told anchors Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski that so-called “regular” voters overwhelmingly want him to stay in the race.

“I went out and wanted to make sure that there wasn’t any slippage at all ... with the average voter, I don’t care what the millionaires think,” he said.

He also said he did not care what “big names” or other media figures think about his continued viability as a candidate.

‘I can respond to all this by saying clearly and unequivocally: I wouldn’t be running again if I did not absolutely believe I was the best person to beat Donald Trump in 2024’
‘I can respond to all this by saying clearly and unequivocally: I wouldn’t be running again if I did not absolutely believe I was the best person to beat Donald Trump in 2024’ (AP)

“They were wrong in 2020. They were wrong in 2022 about the red wave. They were wrong in 2024. Come out with me and watch people react,” he said.

He also told the MSNBC hosts: “I’m not going to explain any more about what I should or shouldn’t do. I am running,” and said that anyone who wants to stop him should come at him during the Democratic nominating convention in August.

In his letter to Democrats, Biden justified his refusal to even consider stepping aside in favor of vice-president Kamala Harris or another candidate because Democratic voters chose him in the primary.

“This was a process open to anyone who wanted to run. Only three people chose to challenge me. One fared so badly that he left the primaries to run as an independent. Another attacked me for being too old and was soundly defeated. The voters of the Democratic Party have voted. They have chosen me to be the nominee of the party,” Biden said.

“Do we now just say this process didn't matter? That the voters don't have a say? I decline to do that,” he added.

Continuing, Biden said he possesses a ”deep obligation to the faith and the trust the voters of the Democratic Party” and stressed that it was the decision of voters — “not the press, not the pundits, not the big donors, not any selected group of individuals” — to make him the nominee of the party despite the largely token opposition to his candidacy.

“The voters — and the voters alone — decide the nominee of the Democratic Party. How can we stand for democracy in our nation if we ignore it in our own party? I cannot do that. I will not do that,” he said.

The president’s defiant letter comes less than 24 hours after several high-profile Democratic in the House — including House Judiciary Committee ranking member Jerry Nadler — reportedly called for him to exit the race during an all-caucus Zoom call on Sunday.

Other deep-pocketed Democrat donors have called on Biden to stand aside as well and have suggested they will withhold campaign contributions until the president withdraws his candidacy.

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