The Democrats who have called on Joe Biden to step down

After Joe Biden’s disastrous performance in his first debate against Donald Trump super-charged concerns about his age and fitness for office, the president faces growing calls to stand down as the Democratic nominee this November.

Biden has pushed back hard, telling MSNBC that “elites in the party” were behind calls for him to quit, claiming strong support from actual voters, and challenging doubters in his own party to “run against me. Go ahead. Announce for president – challenge me at the convention!”

Nobody has gone that far yet but a growing number of elected Democratic officials have either publicly called for Biden to quit or reportedly done so in private. Here they are:

Lloyd Doggett (Texas)

The Texas veteran was first out of the gate, saying last week: “Recognising that, unlike [Donald] Trump, President Biden’s first commitment has always been to our country, not himself, I am hopeful that he will make the painful and difficult decision to withdraw. I respectfully call on him to do so.”

Raúl Grijalva (Arizona)

A senior progressive from a battleground state, Grijalva has sway in his party. Following Doggett, the 76-year-old told the New York Times: “What [Biden] needs to do is shoulder the responsibility for keeping that seat – and part of that responsibility is to get out of this race.” Grijalva also said Democrats “have to win this race, and we have to hold the House and hold the Senate”, because if not, the party’s achievements under Biden would “go down the sewer”.

Seth Moulton (Massachusetts)

The former US marine, who briefly challenged Biden for the nomination in 2020, told a Boston radio station: “President Biden has done enormous service to our country, but now is the time for him to follow in one of our founding father George Washington’s footsteps and step aside to let new leaders rise up.” Moulton has since doubled down, citing the “disaster” of the debate.

Mike Quigley (Illinois)

Speaking to MSNBC on Friday, Quigley said: “Mr President, your legacy is set. We owe you the greatest debt of gratitude. The only thing that you can do now to cement that for all time and prevent utter catastrophe is to step down and let someone else do this.”

Angie Craig (Minnesota)

On Saturday, the congresswoman said: “Given what I saw and heard from the president during last week’s debate in Atlanta, coupled with the lack of a forceful response from the president himself following that debate, I do not believe that the president can effectively campaign and win against Donald Trump. That’s why I respectfully call on President Biden to step aside as the Democratic nominee for a second term as president and allow for a new generation of leaders to step forward.”

Adam Smith (Washington)

On Monday, the top Democrat on the House armed services committee said the party’s candidate for president must be able to clearly, articulately and strongly make his or her case to the American people. “It is clear that President Biden is no longer able to meet this burden,” Smith said, on CNN. Smith also said he was “pleading” with Biden to “take a step back. Look at what’s best for the party, look at what’s best for the country.”

Mikie Sherrill (New Jersey)

On Tuesday, the New Jersey Democrat said in a statement that the stakes of a second Trump presidency are too high for her to stay silent. “I know that President Biden and his team have been true public servants and have put the country and the best interests of democracy first and foremost in their considerations,” she said. “And because I know President Biden cares deeply about the future of our country, I am asking that he declare that he won’t run for re-election and will help lead us through a process toward a new nominee.”

Reported: Jerry Nadler (New York), Mark Takano (California), Joe Morelle (New York)

According to multiple reports, on Sunday three senior Democrats joined Smith in using a private call arranged by Hakeem Jeffries, the House minority leader, to call for Biden to stand down. Others on the call reportedly expressed serious concerns but did not go so far as to say Biden should quit.

Nadler is a senior figure, the top Democrat on the House judiciary committee. On Capitol Hill on Tuesday, though, he signaled a retreat, telling reporters: “As the president said, 90% of Democrats voted for him in the primaries and that’s the end of the matter.”

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