Rep. Dean Phillips announced on Sunday that he will step down from his Democratic leadership role, as rumors continue to swirl about the Minnesota congressman potentially running against the president in the 2024 primary.
According to a spokesperson for Phillips, the three-term congressman will be stepping down from his role as co-chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. Phillips will continue to represent his district in Congress and will remain a part of the Democratic caucus.
“My convictions relative to the 2024 presidential race are incongruent with the majority of my caucus, and I felt it appropriate to step aside from elected leadership,” Phillips said in a statement first obtained by Axios. He later confirmed that he was not forced or pressured into resigning.
The congressman said he celebrates House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) “for his remarkable and principled leadership, and [I] extend gratitude to my outstanding friends and colleagues for having created space and place for my perspectives.”
I have decided to step down from the DPCC & Democratic Caucus leadership. While politics & official work do not mix, it’s clear my convictions about 2024 are incongruent with the position of my colleagues & that was causing discomfort. I was not pressured or forced to resign. 1/2
— Rep. Dean Phillips 🇺🇸 (@RepDeanPhillips) October 1, 2023
Phillips, 54, has been outspoken about the need for younger leadership in the Democratic Party — including in the White House. Last year, the congressman said President Joe Biden should not run for reelection even though he considered him a “man of integrity, competency” who has “done an outstanding job under extraordinarily difficult circumstances.”
In July, the moderate began publicly floating the idea of challenging Biden in the 2024 Democratic primary. Despite saying he is not “well-positioned” to enter the race and preferred a higher-profile Democrat to challenge the incumbent, Phillips refused to rule out the possibility of jumping in as recently as last week.
“I am thinking about it. I haven’t ruled it out,” the congressman told political strategist Steve Schmidt for his podcast, “The Warning.”
“I think there are people who are more proximate, better prepared to campaign with national organizations, national name recognition, which I do not possess,” he added.
The Minnesota Democrat’s criticism of Biden’s decision to run for reelection has reportedly triggered intraparty turmoil. During a closed-door meeting last week, freshman Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-Calif.) reportedly asked why a member of House Democratic leadership was veering off message and threatening to run against Biden for president. The question drew applause from other House Democrats in the room, according to Axios.
On Sunday, Phillips said he will “continue to abide by my convictions, place people over politics, and support our shared mission to deliver security, opportunity, and prosperity for all Americans.”