Prominent Biden loyalists suggest he should step down

    Anadolu /Getty, Tyler Le/BI

    After a disastrous debate, many once-loyal Democrats are calling on the president to drop outFormer Obama aides and popular commentators fear Biden only affirmed fears about his ageThe DNC isn’t until August, meaning there’s technically time to choose a new nominee

    For months, Democrats have rallied behind President Joe Biden, insisting that in private moments he is energetic and up for the job. Yet after the president’s abysmal performance last night, some are changing their tune — and the new melody is definitely somber.

    Here’s what some of Biden’s once-loyal defenders are saying about the president now, with some even begging him to end his campaign before the Democratic National Convention in August.

    David Axelrod

    David Axelrod, a former Obama staffer, said the GOP will be in trouble if another Democrat replaces Biden as the nominee.

    Joe Raedle, Getty

    A titan of the Obama administration, Axelrod sounded the alarm during a panel discussion on CNN directly following the debate.

    “I think there was a sense of shock actually on how he came out at the beginning of this debate,” he said. “How his voice sounded — he seemed a little disoriented at the beginning of the debate. He did get stronger as the debate went on, but by that time, I think the panic had set in.”

    He confronted the question on nearly every Democrat’s mind: whether Biden should drop out of the race. While sparring with Republican strategists on the panel, Axelrod said that the GOP would be in serious “trouble” were the Democratic ticket to change.

    The Pod Guys

    Though typically loyal to Biden, the hosts of the hugely popular podcast are saying that Biden should, at the very least, consider stepping aside.

    Jason Mendez, Getty

    While the former Obama aides who host Pod Save America typically support the president, they expressed deep concern about his ability to continue campaigning after last night.

    “Obviously that debate was a f*****g disaster,” Jon Favreau posted on X. “And since we haven’t had the convention yet, it would be absurd if Democrats didn’t at least have a serious discussion about whether Joe Biden — who’s a wonderful human being and has been a great president — is up for the job.”

    In a blog post, Dan Pfeiffer lamented Biden’s failure to assuage voters’ concerns about his age, noting instead that he “exacerbated them.”

    Another host, Tommy Vietor, minced no words, writing on X that telling notoriously panicked Democrats to temper their concerns is “f*****g insulting to people who care deeply about the country.”

    Claire McCaskill

    The former senator and current political commentator said that her phone exploded during the debate, with elected Democrats expressing grave concerns


    The former-senator-turned-political-analyst said on MSNBC that her heart broke while watching the debate. Though she noted that clarity about a path forward can only come with time and new polling, she nonetheless expressed grave concern.

    “Joe Biden had one thing he had to do tonight, and he didn’t do it,” McCaskill said. “He had one thing he had to accomplish, and that was reassure America that he was up for the job at his age. And he failed at that tonight.”

    McCaskill revealed that elected officials were pinging her phone throughout the debate, throwing around words like “crisis.” She also noted that Vice President Kamala Harris and California Governor Gavin Newsom projected a vitality and assuredness that may leave some questioning why their names aren’t at the top of the ticket.

    Thomas Friedman

    Thomas Friedman, a journalist and close friend of Biden, admitted in an opinion piece that the president should step aside, once and for all.

    Michael Cohen, Getty

    By his own admission, Thomas Friedman, Biden’s close friend and a New York Times opinion columnist, wept in his hotel room during last night’s debate. In an article published this morning, he called on the president to step aside and let someone else run in his stead.

    “Joe Biden, a good man and a good president, has no business running for re-election,” Friedman wrote. Dropping out would, he argued, save Biden’s legacy and give Americans the greatest chance of keeping Donald Trump out of office come November. He noted that while Harris should run if so inclined, voters deserve to choose a nominee from a wide array of options.

    “I had been ready to give Biden the benefit of the doubt up to now, because during the times I engaged with him one on one, I found him up to the job,” Friedman concluded. “He clearly is not any longer.”

    Van Jones

    Speaking on CNN after the debate, Van Jones said he felt personal pain while watching Biden’s performance.

    Scott Dudelson

    Van Jones, a political analyst and former Obama advisor, called Biden’s performance “painful” to watch.

    “I just want to speak from my heart,” he said on CNN. “I love that guy. That’s a good man – he loves his country, he’s doing the best that he can, but he had a test to meet tonight to restore confidence of the country and of the base, and he failed to do that.”

    Many people, Jones noted, will want the president to consider stepping aside given that the Democratic National Convention is not until August. The question is whether Biden “will allow us to do that.”

    Joy Reid

    In her comments on MSNBC, Joy Reid said that Biden entirely failed to tamp down concerns about his age.

    CBS Photo Archive

    Joy Reid, a national correspondent on MSNBC, said that she spent the 90-minute debate on the phone with Obama-era aides, Democratic operatives, and campaign officials. Their overall reaction? Panic.

    Biden’s primary job was to settle Democrats and their well-documented tendency to freak out.

    “He did the opposite of that,” she said.

    Ben Rhodes

    Ben Rhodes lamented how the debate made Americans look to leaders abroad.

    NurPhoto, Getty

    Characteristically geared toward concerns abroad, Obama’s national security advisor kept it plain and simple on Twitter: “Just think about what that debate looked like to people and leaders around the world.”

    Nicholas Kristof

    The columnist and CNN contributor chimed in with his own two cents on the New York Times home page, writing that Biden staying in the race would only increase the risk that Donald Trump wins back the presidency.

    Kristof implored the president to leave his successor in the hands of delegates at the Democratic National Convention. He named Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Sen. Sherrod Brown, and Gina Raimondo, the secretary of commerce, as potential nominees.

    “This will be a wrenching choice,” he wrote. “But, Mr. President, one way you can serve your country in 2024 is by announcing your retirement.”

    Alex Thompson

    A big name in political journalism, the Axios reporter

    Read the original article on Business Insider


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