Top NewsAs Biden digs in, another elected Democrat is calling for him to...

As Biden digs in, another elected Democrat is calling for him to drop out of the race

President Biden made it clear in words and actions on Friday that he has no intention of quickly or quietly exiting the presidential race, issuing a stark warning that if leading Democratic donors and elected officials want to change his thinking, they will. A long and general war must be waged.

By Saturday, the battle showed signs of escalating.

Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minn.), a rival in the race and among the most dangerous Democrats, called on Biden to drop out of the race Saturday morning, saying, “We have a short window to make sure that we have a candidate that can be best tackled and win.”

“Given what I saw and heard from the President during last week’s debate in Atlanta, and the lack of a strong response from the President following that debate, I do not believe the President will be able to campaign effectively and win against Donald Trump,” she said in a statement.

His decision was a reflection of meetings and decisions this weekend, as the party steeled itself for a tumultuous few days amid a growing impasse between the president and his party over the path forward. Biden was cheered on by his family — especially first lady Jill Biden and her son Hunter — who were adamant that party leaders not let him drop out of the race. Outside his tight circle, however, many Democrats were nervous about contested races up and down the ballot.

Craig is the fifth congressional Democrat to call on Biden to step down, according to a Washington Post tally, while 13 other members of Congress and governors have expressed concern about his continuation.

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Biden’s campaign scrambled to combine two campaign events in Pennsylvania on Sunday, while House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (DNY) planned a Sunday call with top Democrats in the lower chamber of Congress.

A week after his debate with former President Donald Trump, President Biden sat down for an interview with ABC News on July 5 to discuss the 2024 campaign. (Video: JM Rieger/ABC News)

As congressional Democrats return to Washington next week for the first time since Biden’s shaky debate schedule — and the president holds a NATO summit and plans a separate news conference — the next few days are expected to be emotional and combative for lawmakers. Private conversations about Biden’s candidacy should remain public.

Biden tried to use a battleground state rally and prime-time television interview to assuage concerns about his candidacy on Friday. Some of his allies and those on his campaign were reassured by the performance and did not feel that his interview answers, or his delivery of them, would change their thinking going forward.

But some of Biden’s transgressions throughout the day ran the risk of more embattled lawmakers going public with their concerns. In the interview, he dismissed any polls that failed Trump (“All the pollsters I talk to tell me it’s a toss-up”) or his approval rating at 36 percent (“That’s not what our polls show”) and said he had no direct knowledge of the Democratic disaffected party. He insisted (“They all said I should stay in the competition … none of the people said I should leave.”)

Asked how she would feel if Trump stayed in the race and won, she replied, “I’ll feel as if I’ve given it my all and done the best job I can, and that’s what it’s all about. .”

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Biden is now scheduled to hold two campaign events Sunday, one in Philadelphia and the other in Harrisburg, according to the White House schedule. Those events came after union workers staged pickets and canceled his appearance at the National Education Association convention in Philadelphia.

He plans to return to the White House on Sunday night ahead of a NATO summit in Washington, where he plans to hold a rare separate news conference on Thursday.

Jeffries’ decision to hold the call with top Democrats came ahead of Biden’s rally in Wisconsin and an ABC interview that aired Friday night. But member unrest prompted Jeffries to move the weekly meeting, which usually takes place on Wednesdays when the chamber is in session, to Sundays instead.

Biden and his aides have often dismissed some calls for him to drop out of the race, pointing to the fact that the blunt words are coming from those who have previously made similar statements.

Julián Castro, a former secretary of housing and urban development in the Obama administration who ran in the 2020 primary and raised concerns at the time, said Friday night on MSNBC that Biden was “basically in denial” about the decline that people “can clearly see . . .”

Former Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio, who is also running in the 2020 Democratic primary and has previously called on Biden to drop out of the race, said Friday that the president’s interview “didn’t move the needle.”

“I don’t think he’s excited anybody. I think he’s out of touch with the reality on the ground,” she said. “I’m worried.”

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Allies who had long protected him were supportive.

“President Biden has made significant progress for the American people, and he plans to do even more in his next term,” Sen. X said. Chris Coons (D-Del.) wrote. “I can’t wait to help him continue. Take the fight to Trump and win in November.

Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) Published in X “Democrats need to get a backbone” and “Joe Biden is our man.”

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) was positive, but also said Biden needs to do more.

“Biden does great in 22-minute interview with Stephanopoulos” He wrote In X. “But most of the questions are about Biden’s abilities. We need an extended live interview that focuses on where Biden plans to lead us over the next 4 years.

Sherman invited Biden to do a lengthy interview on Friday before the full ABC News interview aired, in which he acknowledged that Biden “could give us four more years.”

“I think we should test Biden more,” Sherman said on CNN.

Mariana Sotomayor and Asi Pipera contributed to this report.

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