The Democrats Calling For Biden to Withdraw From the 2024 Election

The Democrats Calling For Biden to Withdraw From the 2024 Election
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  • The Democrats Calling For Biden to Withdraw From the 2024 Election

The Democrats Calling For Biden to Withdraw From the 2024 Election

Updated: | Originally published:

There has been growing alarm among Democrats about Joe Biden’s debate performance on Thursday, amplifying concerns he can’t beat Donald Trump in November.

But so far very few prominent Democrats have publicly called for Biden to step aside.

One of Biden’s longtime allies, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said on MSNBC Tuesday that it’s a “legitimate question” to ask if Biden’s pauses during the debate were “an episode or is this a condition?” But she stopped short of calling for Biden to withdraw, saying that people should have concerns about Trump’s mental acuity as well. She said opinions are “mixed” about whether Biden’s up to the job, but, she said, “I trust his judgment.”

One of Biden’s most crucial Democratic allies, South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn, said on MSNBC Tuesday that he would support Vice President Kamala Harris if Biden were to step aside. That is an obvious statement for a co-chair of the Biden-Harris campaign, but it took on additional weight during a week rife with speculation about whether Biden should remain on the ticket.

While it is unlikely, Biden could still withdraw from the race before the election. Here are some prominent Democrats who have so far publicly called for Biden to drop out.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Texas Democrat

Lloyd Doggett June 5
Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-TexasTom Williams—CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett was the first Democrat currently serving in Congress to call for Biden to step aside. He said in a statement on Tuesday that Biden’s weak poll numbers and debate performance was an important part of his decision. “President Biden has continued to run substantially behind Democratic senators in key states and in most polls has trailed Donald Trump,” Doggett said in a statement.  “I had hoped that the debate would provide some momentum to change that. It did not. Instead of reassuring voters, the President failed to effectively defend his many accomplishments and expose Trump’s many lies.”

In his announcement, Doggett referred to former President Lyndon Johnson’s decision in 1968 to withdraw from the Presidential race because of deep divisions within the Democratic party over the war in Vietnam. “I represent the heart of a congressional district once represented by Lyndon Johnson,” Doggett said. “Under very different circumstances, he made the painful decision to withdraw. President Biden should do the same.”

Tim Ryan, former Ohio Congressman from 2003 to 2023

Democrat Senate Candidate For Ohio Tim Ryan Election Night Event
Tim Ryan in 2022Joshua A. Bickel—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Ohio congressman Tim Ryan called for Biden to step aside when he published an OpEd article in Newsweek on Tuesday saying that “it’s time” to make Harris the party’s nominee. “We have to rip the band aid off! Too much is at stake,” Ryan wrote on X. Harris “has significantly grown into her job, she will destroy Trump in debate, highlight choice issue, energize our base, bring back young voters and give us generational change.”

Julian Castro, former Housing Secretary in the Obama Administration

Official White House Portraits Of Barack And Michelle Obama Unveiled
Julian Castro in 2022Al Drago—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Julian Castro, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 2014 to 2017 during the Obama administration, wrote on X on June 28: “Biden had a very low bar going into the debate and failed to clear even that bar. He seemed unprepared, lost, and not strong enough to parry effectively with Trump, who lies constantly.” On Tuesday, Castro said on MSNBC that “another Democrat would have a better shot” at beating Trump.

Jason Lewis, Massachusetts State Senator

A Marijuana Contingency Plan For The Legislature
State Senator Jason Lewis in 2015Lane Turner—The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Massachusetts State Senator Jason Lewis made the comment in a Boston Public Radio interview on June 28 in which compared Biden’s candidacy to a train about to crash. “Our choice is to, you know, jump off that train,” Lewis said.

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