Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Pelosi urges Biden to make decision on race, despite his insistence he will stay

Pelosi urges Biden to make decision on race, despite his insistence he will stay

In a Wednesday morning interview, former House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) repeatedly urged President Biden to make a decision about whether to stay in the presidential race, despite the president’s insistence that he should remain at the top of the Democratic ticket.

“It’s up to the president to decide if he is going to run. We’re all encouraging him to make that decision, because time is running short,” Pelosi said Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “ … He is beloved, he is respected, and people want him to make that decision.”

Biden so far has been adamant that he should continue running for reelection, amid increasingly public concerns within the party about his candidacy after his halting performance against Donald Trump in the first debate last month. Since the debate, Biden held campaign rallies, sat for an interview with ABC News, sent a lengthy letter to congressional lawmakers, campaigned in Pennsylvania and agreed to hold a news conference Thursday, in the hopes of quelling doubts about his ability to serve a second term.

Biden and his team also have met with 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 — who have voiced strong support for his candidacy. As of Wednesday morning, only 10 Democratic lawmakers have publicly called on Biden to drop out of the 2024 race.

But Pelosi’s remarks in her television appearance Wednesday suggested that Biden had yet to make a final decision about whether to continue running. Pressed on whether she wanted him to stay in the race, Pelosi said: “I want him to do whatever he decides to do. And that’s — that’s the way it is. Whatever he decides, we go with.”

Pelosi also implied that she had told Democratic lawmakers to refrain from voicing any opinions about Biden’s candidacy until after the North Atlantic Treaty Organization conference, which Biden is hosting in Washington this week.

“Over 30 heads of state are here … it means [Biden is] orchestrating the discussion and setting the agenda, and he’s doing so magnificently,” Pelosi said. “And I’ve said to everyone — let’s just hold off whatever you’re thinking, either tell somebody privately, but you don’t have to put that out on the table until we see how we go this week. But I’m very proud of the president.”

Democratic lawmakers remain divided on Biden — and have certainly not remained quiet about their opinions on the president. Late Tuesday night, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) told CNN that Trump was on track to win the election “by a landslide and take with him the Senate and the House” if Biden remained in the race.

“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 said. “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.”

Asked to respond to Bennet’s comments, Biden campaign spokesman Kevin Munoz said: “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. This was always going to be a close race.”

Maeve Reston contributed to this report.

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