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Vulnerable House Democrat calls on Biden to step aside in 2024 race

Rep. Pat Ryan (D-N.Y.), a vulnerable House Democrat, is calling on President Biden to step aside in the 2024 race, becoming the eighth lawmaker in the lower chamber to publicly urge the incumbent to withdraw.

Ryan — who represents New York’s 18th Congressional District — told The New York Times in an interview published Wednesday he does not believe Biden is the strongest Democrat to take on former President Trump in November.

“I’d be doing a grave disservice if I said he was the best candidate to serve this fall,” Ryan told the Times. “For the good of our country, for my two young kids, I’m asking Joe Biden to step aside in the upcoming election and deliver on the promise to be a bridge to a new generation of leaders.”

“I really hope, with all my heart, that he will listen,” he added.

Ryan’s comments are the latest sign of Biden’s congressional support cracking after his disastrous debate performance last month, where he at times appeared to lose his train of thought and stumbled over his words.

Biden, for his part, has been adamant that he intends to remain in the race. During an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Monday, the president said “I’m not going anywhere,” and later in the day, he told donors on a call “the Democratic nominee is me.”

A number of Democratic lawmakers — especially those in the influential Congressional Black Caucus — have backed up the president’s position, telling reporters they are squarely behind Biden as he seeks reelection and arguing he is the best candidate to take on Trump.

“I have spoken to the president over the weekend. I have spoken with him extensively. He made clear then — and he has made clear since — that he is in this race,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) told reporters Monday night. “The matter is closed.”

Democrats in Congress on Tuesday seemed to coalesce behind keeping Biden as their 2024 nominee, though a number still expressed discomfort with the proposition.

Eight Democrats have publicly called on Biden to step aside thus far, and sources say several others are voicing the same opinion behind the scenes.

One House Democrat, who says Biden should step aside and requested anonymity to discuss the sensitive topic, told The Hill this week that several members are waiting to see how postdebate polling on how the president’s standing at the top of the ticket will affect down-ballot races and, ultimately, influence Democrats’ chances at taking control of the House.

Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minn.), another front-line Democrat, has also called on Biden to step aside from the ticket.

In a sign of more potential headwinds to come, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — a close Biden ally who is being closely watched in the debate over the president’s viability as a candidate — said Wednesday “it’s up to the president to decide if he is going to run,” a comment that raised eyebrows since Biden has been clear he intends to stay in the race.

Ryan told the Times his opinion of Biden started to change after he spoke to constituents in his district after the debate who said they were “deeply concerned” about the president’s ability to vie for another term in office.

The New York Democrat directly took on Biden’s comments that “elites” are the ones driving the effort to remove him from the ticket, citing his voters back home.

“These are the opposite of elites,” Ryan said. “These are people eating hot dogs and drinking beer and talking about my Yankees and where the country’s at and expressing some pretty deep and weighty things.”

Ryan, 42, praised Biden’s “historic accomplishments” of the past 3.5 years, and said he could usher in “Part 2” of his legacy if he stepped aside and allowed a new generation of Democratic leaders to take hold.

“I really think this would go down in history at or near what George Washington did in terms of stepping aside for the good of the country,” he said. “It would be such a stark contrast to the selfishness of Trump.”

Updated at 1:04 p.m. EDT

Source: The Hill

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