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Biden rejects Democratic lawmaker calls to step down

President Biden on Monday bluntly rejected suggestions that he bow out of the presidential race in a letter to congressional Democrats, arguing it would undermine the preference of voters and ignore his record.

The president, in a letter shared by his campaign, spoke directly to drama that has engulfed the Democratic Party since his disastrous debate performance June 27 and called for lawmakers to unite behind his candidacy.

“The question of how to move forward has been well-aired for over a week now. And it’s time for it to end,” Biden wrote. “Any weakening of resolve or lack of clarity about the task ahead only helps Trump and hurts us. It is time to come together.”

A growing number of Democrats have in recent days come forward to suggest Biden should step down as the party’s nominee in 2024 or to cast doubt on his ability to defeat former President Trump in November. Others in the party have openly questioned whether he can campaign with the vigor and energy needed to defeat Trump.

“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,” Biden wrote.

“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,” he added.

Biden noted millions of voters cast ballots in Democratic primaries backing him as the nominee and asked lawmakers if they would suggest that process did not matter by urging him to step aside.

“I decline to do that,” he wrote to lawmakers. “I feel a deep obligation to the faith and the trust the voters of the Democratic Party have placed in me to run this year. It was their decision to make. Not the press, not the pundits, not the big donors, not any selected group of individuals, no matter how well intentioned.

“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?” he wrote “I cannot do that. I will not do that.”

Biden has faced growing calls to drop out of the race from congressional Democrats. While those public voices are now a tiny fraction of Democratic membership in the House and Senate, their numbers are expected to grow as the House and Senate return to the Capitol this week.

Five sitting House Democrats have now called for Biden to drop out after Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minn.) shared Saturday on the social platform X that he should step aside. She joins fellow House Democrats Reps. Lloyd Doggett (Texas), Mike Quigley (Ill.), Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.) and Seth Moulton (Mass.) in publicly calling for him to withdraw from the race.

Biden in his letter Monday cited his legislative achievements to grow the economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, investments to lower prescription drug costs, efforts to protect abortion access and his focus on protecting democracy as reasons to believe he can defeat Trump on the issues in November.

The campaign also sent a memo to Hill offices Monday morning highlighting Biden’s work on the campaign trail over the past week, which included a trip to Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. 

It also noted that Biden is hosting a press conference Thursday for the NATO summit and that he is ramping up his travel, including with a trip to Detroit, according to the memo acquired by The Hill, which was sent to offices by the Biden-Harris campaign.

Democratic congressional offices on Monday were given clips of Biden’s speech in Wisconsin, which was energized and during which he declared that he’s not dropping out, as well as a clip from him in Philadelphia.

Biden last week made the rounds speaking with Democratic congressional leadership, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), and he held a meeting with Democratic governors at the White House on Wednesday.

The president participated in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Friday and is set to hold a press conference around the NATO Summit on Thursday amid calls for lawmakers, including key ally Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), for him to do more unscripted events.

Updated at 9:25 a.m. EDT

Source: The Hill

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