Democrats Start Calling for Biden to End Campaign

As Joe Biden’s campaign attempts to muffle public concern over his fitness for office, one Democratic House member has finally broken the seal of backroom debate and anonymous statements by publicly calling for the president to step down from the 2024 race.

Longtime Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) issued a statement on Tuesday calling for Biden to “make the painful and difficult decision to withdraw,” following a presidential debate appearance in which Biden appeared feeble and struggled to complete his thoughts.

“Having devoted his life to public service, President Biden has achieved much for our country at home and abroad,” Doggett wrote. “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.”

He continued: “Our overriding consideration must be who has the best hope of saving our democracy from an authoritarian takeover by a criminal and his gang. Too much is at stake to risk a Trump victory- too great a risk to assume that what could not be turned around in a year, what was not turned around in the debate, can be turned around now. President Biden saved our democracy by delivering us from Trump in 2020. He must not deliver us to Trump in 2024,” he added.

Doggett noted that he represents the Texas district that former president Lyndon B. Johnson represented between 1937 and 1949, and cited Johnson’s withdrawal from the 1968 election cycle as an example for the current president.

While several other Democratic lawmakers have publicly expressed concerns over Biden’s disastrous debate performance last week — and the repercussions it may have with voters already weary of the president’s advanced age — Doggett is the first to openly put out the call for Biden to abandon his run.

“I was pretty horrified,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said Monday. “I think people want to make sure that this is a campaign that’s ready to go and win, that the president and his team are being candid with us about his condition — that this was a real anomaly.”

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) struck back at Biden’s campaign’s reliance on carefully scripted — short — speeches and media appearances to combat the criticism. “One interview isn’t going to fix this,” she told CNN. “I think the campaign’s got to listen to people. And by the way, I think the campaign needs to listen to us.”

Several former Democratic officials have now called on Biden to exit the race. Former Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) wrote in a Newsweek op-ed that Biden should cede his campaign to Vice President Kamala Harris. Julián Castro, the former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Barack Obama, said Tuesday that “another Democrat would have a better shot at beating Trump,” adding that “Democrats would be well to find another candidate.”

The campaign doesn’t seem to want to listen. A top Democratic National Committee official told prominent donors during a call on Monday to “breathe through their nose” and calm down. With Doggett tipping the first domino in Congress, others may feel more emboldened to speak candidly about the president.

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