Tuesday, July 16, 2024

In blow to Biden, Democratic Sen. Bennet says Trump could win ‘by a landslide’

In blow to Biden, Democratic Sen. Bennet says Trump could win ‘by a landslide’

In a blow to President Biden’s effort to revive his candidacy, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) said Tuesday night in a televised interview that he believes Democrats could lose the House, the Senate and the White House if Biden remains the party’s nominee — calling the trajectory of the race “very worrisome” for the future of the country.

“This is the first time in more than 20 years that a Republican president has been up in this part of the campaign,” Bennet said in an interview with CNN’s Kaitlan Collins. “Donald Trump is on track, I think, to win this election, and maybe win it by a landslide and take with him the Senate and the House.”

“For me this isn’t a question about polling; it’s not a question about politics. It’s a moral question about the future of our country,” Bennet continued. “It’s critically important for us to come to grips with what we face, if together, we put this country on the path of electing Donald Trump again.”

Since his faltering June 27 debate performance, Biden has insisted that he has no intention of ending his candidacy and has argued that party elites are trying to force him from the race. At the same time, his aides and allies have aggressively tried to assuage the concerns of Democratic lawmakers and discourage them from speaking publicly about them. To that end, Biden sent a letter to congressional lawmakers on Monday arguing that it was time for the debate over his candidacy to end, because it was distracting from the effort to defeat Trump.

The Biden team’s efforts to stanch any additional defections appeared to be paying off Monday as key party leaders including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.), as well as members of the Congressional Black Caucus, voiced strong support for his candidacy.

But many members have continued to privately express alarm about the president’s sliding poll numbers and their doubts that he will be able to regain the confidence of the broad swath of American voters who say they no longer believe he is up to the job.

Bennet came forward with his concerns Tuesday after a tense private luncheon with other senators on Capitol Hill. He confirmed that he had aired the same concerns with his colleagues at the lunch earlier in the day. Though he did not explicitly call for Biden to step down, he said in the CNN interview that the White House — since what he described as a “disastrous debate” — “has done nothing to demonstrate that they have a plan to win this election.”

“I think they need to do that,” he added.

During the luncheon, Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who is facing a difficult reelection fight, said he seriously doubted Biden could win the presidential contest, according to two people briefed on that meeting.

When asked for comment, Biden campaign spokesperson Kevin Munoz did not directly respond to Bennet’s comments, instead maintaining that “there are a lot of days between now and election day, and the hard work of earning every single vote is far from over.”

“No one is more committed to defeating Donald Trump and defending our democracy than Joe Biden, and few know better than Joe Biden the importance of showing up and campaigning to earn the support of voters,” Munoz said in a statement.

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