RECAP: Biden insists he's staying in 2024 race as Democrats return to a very different DC (2024)

WASHINGTON − Senior Democrats on Capitol Hill trickled back into Washington on Monday with very different takes on whether President Joe Biden should leave the 2024 campaign against Donald Trump over concerns he's not up to the job.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer became the highest-ranking Democrat to declare his allegiance to the 81-year-old Biden, telling reporters "I'm in for Joe" as the New Yorker made his way into the Capitol. That comment contrasted with Rep. Adam Smith, the ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee, who in a CNN interview became the sixth House Democrat to say Biden's time was up following the president's "alarming" debate performance.

For his part, Bidencame out swinging on Monday morning in defense of his spot atop the 2024 Democratic ticket as a pivotal week started where the incumbent's political future remains on the line.

Biden insisted in a letter to congressional Democrats that he's not dropping out despite concerns about his mental fitness and capacity through the 2024 campaign and a possible second term. The oldest president in U.S. history also called into MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' to push back on the growing calls to step aside and later joined a Zoom meeting with his biggest campaign contributors to declare that the party's primary voters have spoken.

"I've got a pretty good political instinct and here's the deal, it's not going to happen here," Biden said during his MSNBC appearance. "This time around, the American public is not going to move away from me as the average voter."

The Democrats who appeared in the House and Senate for votes Monday evening also expressed concerns about Biden's position atop the ticket, though the number of elected lawmakers who are calling publicly for the president to stand down in November didn't grow by any considerable degree. Looking ahead, Biden is set to huddle with several key constituencies, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. A set of important closed-door meetings are also scheduled on both ends of Capitol Hill on Tuesday where Biden's political future is sure to be atop lawmakers' agendas.

RECAP: Biden insists he's staying in 2024 race as Democrats return to a very different DC (1)

Democrats fret Biden could be paving way for Trump

Democrats who rallied around Joe Biden four years ago as their best chance to beat Donald Trump now fear he may be paving the way for Trump’s return.

Concerns about Biden’s advanced age, questions about his physical and mental health and the fallout from a disastrous debate with Trump two weeks ago are raising doubts about whether the 81-year-old president can beat Trump again and, even if he does, whether he is capable of serving another four years.

“President Biden has got to prove to the American people – including me – that he's up to the job for another four years,” Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat who is facing his own tough re-election battle, told reporters on Monday.

With lawmakers returning to Capitol Hill after a short recess, the next 48 hours will be crucial for Biden’s reelection bid. Rep. Joe Morelle, D-N.Y., told reporters Biden “has to make a decision on how he feels about his ability to run, both for office and to serve as president.”

– Michael Collins

RECAP: Biden insists he's staying in 2024 race as Democrats return to a very different DC (2)

Biden huddle in the works for Congressional Hispanic Caucus

President Joe Biden's outreach to key Democratic constituencies will also include a huddle with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, according to Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.).

Padilla didn't have a set date or time for the meeting. But the California senator who in 2021 replaced Vice President Kamala Harris also told reporters on Monday that he is sticking with Biden in 2024. "He's more than capable of not just running, but winning in November," he said.

– Riley Beggin

RECAP: Biden insists he's staying in 2024 race as Democrats return to a very different DC (3)

Biden to meet with Congressional Black Caucus as he pushes back at detractors

President Joe Biden will meet virtually Monday night with the Congressional Black Caucus, whose members have stayed firmly behind the president as some of their Democratic colleagues call for Biden to withdraw from the election.

The call, confirmed by the Biden campaign, is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.

No Black members of Congress are among the six House Democrats who have publicly called for Biden to drop out of the race.

With his campaign in crisis, Biden has leaned into backing from Black voters whose backing in the 2020 primary was critical for Biden to secure the Democratic nomination.

Biden on Sunday visited a predominantly Black church in Philadelphia and emphasized his support from African-American voters during a surprise phone call Monday morning into MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

– Joey Garrison

RECAP: Biden insists he's staying in 2024 race as Democrats return to a very different DC (4)

Parkinson's specialist visited White House eight times in the last year

An expert on Parkinson’s disease visited the White House a handful of times in an eight-month period − including once with the president's physician − official visitor logs show.

Dr. Kevin Cannard, who has served as the “neurology specialist supporting the White House Medical Unit, according to his LinkedIn, made eight appointments stretching from last August to March.

Cannard met with Dr. Kevin O’Connor, the president's physician, and two others at the White House residence clinic on Jan. 17, as was first reported by the New York Post.

RECAP: Biden insists he's staying in 2024 race as Democrats return to a very different DC (5)

During a contentious press briefing Monday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre would not say why the Parkinson’s expert visited the White House eight times or confirm who the specialist was even visiting. She said “thousands of military personnel” are on the White House campus and that “many of them get care from the White House medical unit.”

Jean-Pierre would only confirm that a neurologist checked Biden three times during his annual physical, which is taken at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Biden’s recent physical report, from February of this year, doesn't mention Parkinson's disease at all despite the president having been evaluated by a neurologist.

– Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy and Joey Garrison

Rep. Adam Smith joins growing chorus of Democrats calling on Biden to end candidacy

The top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee on Monday called on Joe Biden to end his candidacy after his “alarming” debate performance last month.

Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., is among the most senior Democratic lawmakers to demand that Biden leave the race and allow his party to nominate a new candidate. He is the sixth House Democrat to publicly call for Biden to drop out. Smith urged the president toexit the race as soon as possible to allow the new candidate time to make his or her case to American voters.

“I'm pleading with him take a step back,'' Smith said in an interview with CNN. "Look at what's best for the party, look at what's best for the county."

– Tom Vanden Brook

Biden makes his case to top donors in Zoom call

Joe Biden addressed his biggest donors in a Zoom conference call Monday afternoon, making the case that Democratic voters already spoke during the Democratic primary and that he will be the party’s nominee.

Amid calls for Biden to drop out of the race, the president made it clear to 400 members who joined the Biden Victory Fund National Finance Committee meeting that he is “absolutely and unequivocally” remaining in the race, Chip Forrester, whoco-chairs the Biden-Harris Southern Finance Committee, told USA TODAY.

Biden was “clear-eyed and articulate” about his intent to move forward with the campaign, Forrester said, and he called out Donald Trump for being away from the campaign trail since Biden’s heavily criticized debate a week and a half ago.

On the call, Biden campaign chair Jen O’Malley looked ahead to next week’s Republican National Convention, arguing the choice for voters will crystallize during the convention in which Trump officially accepts the GOP nomination.

Biden took questions from some of the donors during the Zoom call and was introduced by Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, who has become one of Biden’s top surrogates.

Joey Garrison

First Lady Jill Biden is "all in" for Biden's campaign

RECAP: Biden insists he's staying in 2024 race as Democrats return to a very different DC (7)

First Lady Jill Biden reassured supporters that she and Joe Biden are intent on staying in the 2024 presidential race during a campaign rally in Wilmington, North Carolina on Monday.

“Joe has made it clear that he’s all in," the first lady said to boisterous cheers from the crowd. "And just as he has always supported my career, I’m all in too."

– Karissa Waddick

Chuck Schumer says he is backing Biden

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, reiterated his support for the president on Monday, telling reporters "I'm for Joe," as he entered the Capitol.

Several other congressional Democrats have spoken out to support Biden amid the growing calls for him to drop out of the race, including Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina and Sens. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania and Alex Padilla of California. Clyburn is a co-chair of Biden's campaign. Padilla sits on its national advisory board.

– Riley Beggin

RECAP: Biden insists he's staying in 2024 race as Democrats return to a very different DC (8)

Biden calls into Morning Joe

Joe Biden emphatically said he will continue to run for president during a live TV phone interview Monday morning.

"I want to make sure I was right, that the average voter out there wanted Joe Biden and I'm confident they do,” Biden said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “The bottom line here is that we are not going anywhere. I am not going anywhere. I would not be running if I didn't believe I am the best candidate to beat Donald Trump in 2024.”

The president said average voters would not turn away from him, and expressed frustration with the “elites” calling on him to drop out, claiming they have been wrong in past elections.

Biden also took a jab at former President Donald Trump, the presumptive 2024 Republican nominee, calling him a “liar.”

“This guy is gonna rip away at a woman's right to choose in a permanent way. This guy is gonna make sure that he exacts revenge. This guy's gonna destroy democracy,” Biden said.

Rebecca Morin

Latino voters in Arizona say they are unfazed by Biden’s debate performance

Biden campaign organizers in Arizona on Monday sought to rally Latino and young voter support amid swirling concerns about the future of the president’s reelection bid.

Latino voters the USA TODAY Network spoke with in Arizona said they were unfazed by Biden’s poor debate performance and believed demands for him to withdraw from the 2024 race were ridiculous.

“Biden is the best choice. He has the best interest for America as a whole, and I think that performance in itself, at least for me, wasn’t going to change anything,” said 25-year-old Jose Medrano, a Latino voter from Phoenix said.

Garnering support among Latinos, who make up one-quarter of eligible voters in Arizona, is pivotal for Biden this election season.

Sabine Martin

Reps. Jerry Nadler, Adam Smith and Mark Takanocall for Biden to exit race

Four House Democrats said Biden should step down as the Democratic presidential nominee during a private phone call for committee ranking members on Sunday afternoon, multiple media reported.

RECAP: Biden insists he's staying in 2024 race as Democrats return to a very different DC (9)

They include Reps. Jerry Nadler of New York, Adam Smith of Washington, Mark Takano of California and Joe Morelle of New York.

All of those lawmakers are the top Democrats on House committees.The call was held by House Democratic leadership and was attended by other top Democrats as questions mount over whether Biden can beat former President Trumpin November.

Ken Tran

John Fetterman stands by Biden

Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., defendedPresident Joe Biden during an appearance on CNN on Monday as multiple Democrats continue to voice concerns about the incumbent president's decision to stay in the 2024 White House race.

"Joe Biden has been a great president ... and I'm not going to chuck him for a rough debate,” Fetterman said.

The Pennsylvania senator, who appeared with Biden at multiple campaign stops across the pivotal swing stateon Sunday, said he did not see the president falter.

“He was perfect," Fetterman said. "At every single stop that we had, people were thrilled, I mean, people were thirsty to have their picture taken with the president. And he was crisp, and he was engaged ... he was crushing it."

Savannah Kuchar

RECAP: Biden insists he's staying in 2024 race as Democrats return to a very different DC (10)

‘Run against me’: Biden lashes out at ‘elitist’ Democratic critics

Joe Bidenlashed out at Democratic critics during a phone call Monday morning into MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” slamming those who want him to withdraw from the race as “elites” and daring them to run against him.

“I’m getting so frustrated by the elites in the party – they know so much more,” Biden sarcastically told co-hosts Joe Scarborough and MikaBrzezinski

“If any of these guys don’t think I should run, run against me. Announce they’re (running for) president. Challenge me at the convention.”

Despite facing nominal opposition during the Democratic primary, Biden has argued he is the choice of Democratic voters.

Joey Garrison

Reps.Seth Moulton, Mike Quigley and more urge Biden to step aside

Five House Democrats have publicly called for Biden to drop out of the 2024 race, including Reps.Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, Seth Moulton, D-Mass., Mike Quigley, D-Ill.,Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., andAngie Craig, D-Minn.

Quigley said Monday that he believes there will be more Democrats this week speaking out againstPresident Joe Biden'sreelection campaign.

“It's going to be an amazing, unfortunately horrible week. But I do think the numbers will grow. I don't know how the president will react to that,” he said during an interview on CNN.

Savannah Kuchar and Karissa Waddick

RECAP: Biden insists he's staying in 2024 race as Democrats return to a very different DC (11)

When is the Democratic National Convention?

The 2024 DNC will start on August 19 and run through August 2022 in Chicago. Though,the DNC plans to hold a virtual roll callvote on a date still to be determined to formally decide the nominee.

The Democratic Party will officially nominate it's presidential and vice presidential candidate during the convention. Joe Biden will be the party's nominee unless he voluntarily steps aside, which he has so far said he will not do.

Elizabeth Beyer

Will Biden be replaced?

Barring a very messy intra-party revolt, the Democratic presidential nomination is Biden's to accept – or decline. And so far the president has pushed back on growing calls for his exit with seemingly no intention yet of stepping away.

If Biden were to change his mind and drop his bid for reelection, focus would then turn to finding a replacement for the top of the ticket. Vice President Kamala Harris, already first in line for the presidency, is a favored candidate for the position.

– Savannah Kuchar

Where does Biden stand in the polls?

Joe Biden has slipped further behind Donald Trump in most polls taken since the two faced off last month in the first 2024 presidential debate.

According to an exclusive USA TODAY/Suffolk University survey conducted immediately after the debate, Trump edged ahead of Biden 41% to 38%. Prior to the debate debacle, the two contenders were tied at 37% of the vote.

A recent New York Times and Siena College poll found that Trump's lead against Biden increased by 3% after the debate

– Elizabeth Beyer and Karissa Waddick

RECAP: Biden insists he's staying in 2024 race as Democrats return to a very different DC (12)

David Axelrod predicts that Biden won’t win, can’t beat Father Time

Former Obama advisor David Axelrod said Sunday that he thinks it’s more likely Joe Biden will lose the 2024 race “by a landslide” than narrowly beat Donald Trump.

“He’s fought his way back from political defeats and against the odds. And so, his psyche is that he can beat anybody and any long odds. What he can’t beat is Father Time. And that’s really the concern here. It’s not about his record,” Axelrod told CNN.

“There are certain immutable facts of life,” Axelrod added. “And those were painfully obvious on that debate stage, and the President just doesn’t seem to come to − he hasn’t come to grips with it. He’s not winning this race...if you just look at the data and talk to people around the country, political people around the country, it’s more likely that he’ll lose by a landslide than win narrowly this race.”

Sudiksha Kochi

RECAP: Biden insists he's staying in 2024 race as Democrats return to a very different DC (13)

Biden's letter to congressional Democrats

Joe Biden sent a letter to congressional Democrats on Monday reaffirming his commitment to staying in the presidential race.

Biden said he'd had "extensive" conversations with Democrats and understood their "good faith fears and worries" about the stakes of the election. "I'm not blind to them," Biden said.

"I am firmly committed to staying in this race, to running this race to the end, and to beating Donald Trump," he wrote.

He has consistently said since a debate fiasco, where he froze and trailed off at times, that he would continue on in the race.

Francesca Chambers

Historian with near perfect prediction record rejects calls for Biden to drop out

Historian Allan Lichtman has accurately predicted nine of the last ten presidential elections. Now, he's rejecting the growing chorusof political pundits and Democratic activists calling on Biden, 81, to bow out of the presidential race.

“It’s a huge mistake. They're not doctors. They don't know whether Biden is physically capable of carrying out a second term or not,” Lichtman, a professor at American University, said during an interview with CNN. “This is all foolhardy nonsense.”

Lichtman references several factors, from incumbency to economic conditions, in forecasting election winners. Debate performance, he argued, is not one of the factors that determines the outcome of an election.

“Debate performances can be overcome,” he said. “At the first sign of adversity the spineless Democrats want to throw under the bus, their own incumbent president. My goodness.”

–Marina Pitofsky and Savannah Kuchar

RECAP: Biden insists he's staying in 2024 race as Democrats return to a very different DC (2024)
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