‘I’m Not Leaving – Biden Insists As He Faces Pressure to Step Aside


US President Joe Biden has reassured senior Democrats and campaign staff on Wednesday following reports suggesting he was reconsidering his campaign after a poor debate performance against Donald Trump last week.

Biden held a private lunch with Vice-President Kamala Harris at the White House amid speculation she might replace him as the party’s candidate in the November election.

In a subsequent call with the broader Democratic campaign, Biden affirmed his commitment to the race, stating, “I’m the nominee of the Democratic Party. No one’s pushing me out. I’m not leaving,” according to a source who spoke to BBC News.

This sentiment was reiterated in a fundraising email from the Biden-Harris campaign, where Biden declared, “Let me say this as clearly and simply as I can: I’m running… in this race until the end.”

Questions about the 81-year-old president’s campaign viability emerged after his debate with Trump, marked by verbal lapses and a weak voice, raising concerns about his fitness for office.

Polls show Trump widening his lead, with a New York Times survey indicating a six-point advantage and a CBS News poll showing a three-point lead in crucial battleground states.

Pressure on Biden has increased, with Democratic donors and lawmakers urging him to step aside. Ramesh Kapur, a longtime Democratic fundraiser, stated, “I think it’s time for him to pass the torch… you can’t fight Mother Nature.”

Representative Raul Grijalva of Arizona echoed this sentiment, saying Democrats should “look elsewhere.”

Despite these calls, the White House and Biden campaign insist he is committed to running. Reports from The New York Times and CNN claimed Biden confided to an ally about evaluating his campaign, but a spokesperson dismissed these reports as “absolutely false.”

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed Biden’s commitment, stating, “We asked the president [and] the president responded directly… and said ‘no, it is absolutely false’.”

On a call with White House staff, Chief of Staff Jeff Zients urged focus on execution, stating, “Get things done. Execution. Execution. Execution.” Biden later met with 20 Democratic governors, who pledged their support. Maryland Governor Wes Moore said, “The president has always had our backs, we’re going to have his back as well.”

Vice-President Harris, considered a potential replacement, has seen increased support among Democrats since the debate. She reaffirmed her support for Biden, with a source close to her stating she would continue to support the campaign actively. Former Communications Director Jamal Simmons emphasized her role as a supportive partner to Biden.

Members of the Democratic National Committee, who will vote to officially nominate Biden at the August convention, expressed a preference for Harris as the nominee if Biden steps down. An anonymous committee member warned that opening the convention to other candidates could cause chaos detrimental to the party’s November prospects.

Biden and his team recognize the need to demonstrate his fitness for office. He appeared at a Medal of Honor ceremony on Wednesday and has planned trips to Wisconsin and Philadelphia later in the week, crucial for shoring up support and dispelling doubts about his campaign’s viability.

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