Four senior House Democrats say Biden should leave race, sources say

Washington — Several senior House Democrats said Sunday that President Biden should end his reelection campaign in the wake of his recent debate performance, multiple people tell CBS News.

Reps. Jerry Nadler of New York, Mark Takano of California, Adam Smith of Washington and Joe Morelle of New York said Sunday during a Zoom meeting with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries that Mr. Biden should leave the race, according to a person on the call and three other people familiar with the meeting. 

Reps. Jim Himes of Connecticut, Don Beyer of Virginia and Jamie Raskin of Maryland also expressed skepticism of the president’s electoral chances, the member on the call and a person familiar with the meeting said. Beyer’s office on Sunday reaffirmed his support for Mr. Biden, despite initial reports suggesting that he was part of the group calling on the president to step aside.  

CBS News has reached out to all the members who sources say either expressed reservations about the president’s chances or said he should withdraw from the race.   

A spokesperson for Jeffries declined to comment on the call. 

President Biden Arrives In Harrisburg For Campaign Event
U.S. President Joe Biden prepares to disembark Air Force One as he arrives at Harrisburg International Airport on July 07, 2024 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. 

Michael M Santiago/Getty Images

The meeting came after House Democratic leaders convened a call last week amid a slow leak of Democratic lawmakers who have called for him to step aside. On Saturday, Rep. Angie Craig, who represents a frontline district in Minnesota, became the latest House Democrat to call for the president to withdraw from the race. And the attention is expected to be on the president’s support in Congress as lawmakers return from recess this week. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Biden has appeared defiant in recent days, making clear that he plans to stay in the race despite concern from some members of his party. When asked during an interview with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos on Friday whether he would step down if there were calls from the party’s leaders in Congress, Mr. Biden brushed the question aside, saying “they’re not going to do that.”

The president said he had an hour-long conversation with Jeffries and had spent “many hours” with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. The president also convened a meeting at the White House with Democratic governors last week. 

“If the Lord almighty came down and said ‘Joe, get out of the race,’ I’d get out of the race,” the president said. “The Lord almighty’s not coming down.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia has been speaking with Democratic colleagues about finding ways to convince the president to step aside and let others seek the nomination, a senator who’s been contacted by Warner told CBS News on Thursday. The senator noted at the time that there weren’t formal plans yet. 

Nikole Killion and Fin Gómez contributed reporting.

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