Politics

Biden Retreats With Family To Discuss Path Ahead After Horrendous Debate

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.


President Joe Biden is retreating with close family members to discuss his reelection path forward after a horrendous debate performance Thursday night with former President Donald Trump.

NBC News reports that Biden will huddle with his family at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland after a debate “that left many fellow Democrats worried about his ability to beat” Trump in the fall, according to five sources.

The outlet said that the trip was planned before the debate. The president and first lady Jill Biden joined their children and grandchildren late Saturday.

“So far, the party’s top leaders have offered public support for Biden, including in tweets posted by former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. Senior congressional Democrats, including Reps. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Jim Clyburn of South Carolina and Nancy Pelosi of California, have privately expressed concerns about his viability, said two sources apprised of those discussions, even as they all publicly back the president,” NBC reported.

“One Democratic House member who believes Biden should drop out of the race — but has yet to call for that publicly — told NBC News that three colleagues expressed the same sentiment to him during votes on the House floor Friday,” the outlet added, noting further that House Democratic leaders are publicly supporting Biden but privately expressing doubts about his viability against Trump.

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“Speaker Pelosi has full confidence in President Biden and looks forward to attending his inauguration on January 20, 2025,” Ian Krager, a spokesman for the former House speaker told NBC. “Any suggestion that she has engaged in a different course of action is simply not true.”

Meanwhile, Christie Stephenson, a Jeffries spokeswoman, said the House minority leader has “repeatedly made clear publicly and privately that he supports President Joe Biden and the Democratic ticket from top to bottom.”

“Any reports alleging that the Congressman has expressed anything other than firm support of President Biden are completely untrue,” a spokesman for Clyburn added.

NBC noted further:

At the same time, there is an understanding among top Democrats that Biden should be given space to determine next steps. They believe only the president, in consultation with his family, can decide whether to move forward or to end his campaign early — and that he won’t respond well to being pushed.

“The decision-makers are two people — it’s the president and his wife,” said one source familiar with the situation, NBC reported. The outlet added: “Anyone who doesn’t understand how deeply personal and familial this decision will be isn’t knowledgeable about the situation.”

Despite delivering an impassioned speech at a rally in North Carolina on Friday that reassured some of his supporters, Biden was described by a source familiar with his mood as feeling humiliated, lacking in confidence, and acutely aware that the enduring images of him at the debate — with his eyes staring into the distance and mouth agape — will outlast his presidency, alongside a performance that was, at times, rambling, incoherent, and hard to follow.

That person said: “It’s a mess.”

Another source said that only one person has sway with Biden on whether he should drop out or continue to run: the first lady.

“The only person who has ultimate influence with him is the first lady,” that person told NBC. “If she decides there should be a change of course, there will be a change of course.”

For his part, Obama took to the X platform to provide some political cover for his former vice president.

“Bad debate nights happen. Trust me, I know. But this election is still a choice between someone who has fought for ordinary folks his entire life and someone who only cares about himself. Between someone who tells the truth; who knows right from wrong and will give it to the American people straight — and someone who lies through his teeth for his own benefit. Last night didn’t change that, and it’s why so much is at stake in November,” he wrote.

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