Clyburn says he’s for Harris ‘if Biden ain’t there’

Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said he would support Vice President Kamala Harris taking over the top spot on the ticket if President Biden “ain’t there.”

“I’m a Biden-Harris person, so I’m not getting away from that. I’m for Biden-Harris. I’m going to be for Biden if Harris ain’t there and I’m going to be for Harris if Biden ain’t there,” Clyburn told USA Today in an article published Friday.

Still, Clyburn — who is widely viewed as responsible for Biden’s primary victory in South Carolina, which propelled him to the presidential nomination in 2020 — told both The Hill and USA Today that Democrats should “stay the course” and “chill out,” even as calls for Harris to replace Biden as presumptive Democratic presidential nominee persist.

The South Carolina Democrat conceded the president had a “poor performance” during Thursday’s debate.

But if it had been a game of baseball, the president would get “two more swings,” he added.

Biden’s shaky debate performance caused panic among Democrats and prompted calls for him to step aside so someone else could take former President Trump on in November.

Harris defended Biden’s performance during a CNN interview directly after the debate. She admitted that the president had a “slow start,” but “it was a strong finish.” She attempted to contrast Biden’s lackluster stage presence with Trump’s stance on “issues that matter to the American people.”

Asked Friday if there would be a better Democrat to communicate the party’s message, Clyburn said “no,” there is “no better Democrat.”

Clyburn, who has spent more than two decades in House Democratic leadership, has been a close ally of Biden’s for years. When Clyburn endorsed Biden during the 2020 Democratic primary, it served as a turning point for Biden’s campaign and putting him on track for the White House.

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