Joe Biden faces 10th House Democrat asking him not to run (2024)

A 10th sitting Democratic lawmaker has called for President Joe Biden to step down as the party's presidential nominee after his performance at the first presidential debate last month.

During the CNN debate on June 27, the president often spoke with a raspy voice and at times stumbled over his answers while appearing to lose his train of thought during the clash with former President Donald Trump, the GOP's presumptive presidential nominee.

Biden being supplanted as the Democrat's presidential candidate just four months before the election would be unprecedented in modern times, but discussions on replacing him have been ramping up among some panicked Democrats.

At this stage, he could only be replaced if he chose to step down—and the president has made it clear that he has no intention to do so.

At a campaign rally the next day, Biden acknowledged his poor debate performance but said he believed "with all my heart and soul that I can do this job."

Joe Biden faces 10th House Democrat asking him not to run (1)

Seth Schuster, Biden campaign spokesperson, told Newsweek after the debate: "Joe Biden is not dropping out." The president has also publicly stated that he is staying in the 2024 race on multiple occasions since the debate, including writing in a letter to congressional Democrats on Monday that it was time for questions about his candidacy "to end" and that the party should shift its focus to defeating Trump.

Here is a list of prominent Democrats who have called on Biden to step aside or expressed concerns about his ability to run.

Sitting Democrats Calling on Biden to Stand Down

Representative Mikie Sherrill

New Jersey Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill on Tuesday released a statement in which she said it was imperative that Democrats do not allow Trump to return to the White House and that Biden should "declare that he won't run for reelection" to allow the party to pick a new nominee to take on the former president.

"I know that President Biden and his team have been true public servants and have put the country and the best interests of democracy first and foremost in their considerations," read the statement, which Sherrill posted to her account on X, formerly Twitter.

"And because I know President Biden cares deeply about the future of our country, I am asking that he declare that he won't run for reelection and will help lead us through a process toward a new nominee," the congresswoman added.

Sherrill is the first congressional member to come forward after a private meeting Tuesday morning with House and Senate Democrats on Capitol Hill, as Biden's reelection campaign was discussed. According to lawmakers who spoke with the Associated Press, the tone among Democrats during the meeting was "dour" and "sad."

Representatives Jerry Nadler, Joe Morelle, Adam Smith and Mark Takano

On Sunday, four more senior House Democrats called on Biden to exit the presidential race during a private call with Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, according to multiple news outlets, including The New York Times and Politico.

According to Politico, the call lasted two hours, as Democratic Representatives Jerry Nadler and Joe Morelle of New York, Adam Smith of Washington and Mark Takano of California "forcefully" pushed for Biden to leave the race.

On Tuesday, Nadler publicly said he's backing Biden despite reports about his private remarks on Saturday.

Politico, which spoke to two people familiar with the private session, also reported that Representives Jim Himes of Connecticut, Zoe Lofgren of California, Don Beyer of Virginia and Rick Larsen of Washington voiced concerns about Biden's chances against Trump.

On Monday, Smith made his first public comments regarding Biden's reelection campaign, saying in a statement from his office that the president "should end his candidacy" and "release his delegates to the Democratic National Convention to enable the party to nominate a new candidate for President."

"Any candidate for the highest office in our nation has a strong burden to bear," Smith said. "That candidate must be able to clearly, articulately, and strongly make his or her case to the American people. It is clear that President Biden is no longer able to meet this burden."

Smith added that if Biden stays in the race, however, the congressman "will back him one hundred percent and without reservation." But Smith added that it would "be a mistake" if Biden continues his campaign.

"He should step aside now so that we can find a new candidate that will put us in the strongest possible position to beat Donald Trump in November," Smith concluded.

Representative Angie Craig

Congresswoman Angie Craig, a Minnesota Democrat, called Biden a "good man" but advised that he "step aside for the next generation of leadership," in an X post on Saturday.

Attached to the post was a statement that read, in part: "Given what I saw and heard from the President during last week's debate in Atlanta, coupled with the lack of a forceful response from the President himself following that debate, I do not believe that the President can effectively campaign and win against Donald Trump."

Craig continued: "If we truly believe that Donald Trump and MAGA [Make America Great Again] Republicans must be stopped, there is only a small window left to make sure we have a candidate best equipped to make the case and win. This future of our country is bigger than any one of us. It's up to the President from here."

Representative Mike Quigley

Congressman Mike Quigley of Illinois told MSNBC's Chris Hayes Friday evening that while he had a "hard time processing" talks of Biden stepping aside, he agrees the president should drop out of the race.

"Mr. President, your legacy is set," Quigley said. "We owe you the greatest debt of gratitude. The only thing that you can do now to cement that for all time and prevent utter catastrophe is to step down and let someone else do this."

Quigley went on to critique former President Donald Trump's "cognitive issues" and said that Democrats are going to be in a "dog fight" in November. He is the fourth sitting Democrat to call on Biden to end his reelection bid.

Representative Seth Moulton

Massachusetts Representative Seth Moulton called on Biden to drop out of the 2024 election while speaking to WBUR on July 4.

"President Biden has done enormous service to our country, but now is the time for him to follow in one of our founding father George Washington's footsteps and step aside to let new leaders rise up and run against Donald Trump," Moulton said.

The congressman previously released a statement to his X, formerly Twitter, account saying that he had "grave concerns" about Biden's "ability to defeat Donald Trump" in November.

"Since Thursday night, I have been having nonstop, tough, honest conversations with colleagues and other Democrats," Moulton wrote Wednesday. "I'm taking time to seriously consider the best strategy for Democrats to win this election and set our country on a positive path forward."

Representative Raúl Grijalva

Arizona Congressman Raúl Grijalva told The New York Times on July 3 that while Biden would have his support if he is on the ballot in November, he believes that Democrats should "look elsewhere."

"If he's the candidate, I'm going to support him, but I think that this is an opportunity to look elsewhere," Grijalva told the outlet.

"What he needs to do is shoulder the responsibility for keeping that seat—and part of that responsibility is to get out of this race," the Democratic lawmaker added.

Grijalva was the second sitting Democrat to call on Biden to step down.

Representative Lloyd Doggett

On July 2, Texas Representative Lloyd Doggett became the first Democratic member of Congress to urge Biden to drop out of the presidential race.

In a statement, he said: "President Biden has continued to run substantially behind Democratic senators in key states and in most polls has trailed Donald Trump.

"I had hoped that the debate would provide some momentum to change that. It did not. Instead of reassuring voters, the President failed to effectively defend his many accomplishments and expose Trump's many lies."

Democrats Calling on Biden to Stand Down

Stephen King

Author Stephen King, who supported Biden in 2020, urged him to step down in a July 8 post to X.

"Joe Biden has been a fine president, but it's time for him—in the interests of the America he so clearly loves—to announce he will not run for re-election," he wrote. King previously called the debate a "shame."

Adam Frisch

Colorado congressional candidate Adam Frisch, who gained national attention after nearly defeating Representative Lauren Boebert, wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that "neither candidate is fit for office, but only Joe Biden has the power and decency to move us forward by stepping aside and passing the baton to the next generation of leadership."

Posting a video, he added: "It has been apparent to me for some time, and the debate only reinforced it, that neither candidate is fit for president. We need a president that can unite America to realize our nation's unlimited potential. We deserve better. President Biden should withdraw from this race."

He is again running for Colorado's 3rd Congressional District, viewed as a potential flip opportunity for Democrats.

Carolyn Bourdeaux

Former Representative Carolyn Bourdeaux, who represented a suburban Atlanta Congressional district from 2021 to 2023, wrote that fears about Biden "were heightened" after the debate, despite it being "marketed as the moment when voters' fear about Biden would be laid to rest" in an opinion article published in ­The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"It is deeply irresponsible for Democrats to make voters choose between a candidate who threatens the democracy and a candidate who raises serious and well-founded concerns about physical and mental impairment—particularly when they have the very real opportunity to make a change," she wrote.

Tim Ryan

Tim Ryan, the former Democratic congressman from Ohio, wrote an op-ed for Newsweek calling for Biden to step down and be replaced by Vice President Kamala Harris.

"I love America. I love our Party. I love Joe Biden," Ryan wrote. "The Democratic Nominee in 2024 should be Kamala Harris."

Ryan said that while he believes Biden is a "good and honorable man," his debate performance was "deeply troubling" and "heartbreaking" to watch.

"It isn't just about a 90-minute debate and a terrible performance. This election needs to be about generational change," he said.

Andrew Yang

Andrew Yang, who ran against Biden for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, was one of the earliest voices calling for the president to step aside.

"What's Joe Biden's superpower? That he's a good guy who will do the right thing for the country. In this case, that's stepping aside and letting the DNC choose another nominee," Yang wrote on X.

Yang added that he had debated Biden seven times in 2020, and said that "he's a different guy in 2024."

Yang added that if Biden stepped down "his legacy would be one of personal triumph and nobility."

Newsweek reached out to Yang's Forward Party via contact form on its website.

Johanna Maska

Democratic consultant Johanna Maska, also a former aide to President Barack Obama and who once worked with Biden, said that she believed the president should step aside.

"We cannot do this Democrats. Joe Biden can't put a sentence together. We have to change our candidate—and we have so many good candidates who are sitting on the sidelines," Maska said in a video posted to X.

She listed Maryland Governor Wes More, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, California Representative Ro Khanna and Arizona Senator Mark Kelly as potential candidates.

In an emailed statement to Newsweek, Maska said: "I do think he needs to step down and open the convention—not endorse Kamala Harris. Have many reasons for this suggestion, not least of all if we're preserving democracy we shouldn't anoint leaders but rather have a transparent process."

Julián Castro

Julián Castro, who served in the Obama administration as housing and urban development secretary, urged Biden to drop out of the 2024 presidential contest in an X post on Tuesday.

He said: "Joe Biden is a good man and has been a good president. But last week's debate disturbingly demonstrated that he is unable to effectively prosecute the case against Donald Trump—much less inspire and mobilize voters to the polls.

"Sadly, President Biden is not the campaigner he was in 2020—and looks very likely to lose to Trump, one of the weakest candidates in presidential history. I am convinced that a number of other Democrats, including Vice President Harris, stand a better chance of winning."

Democrats Questioning Whether Biden Should Run

Several Democrats have questioned Biden's suitability as the nominee but have stopped short of calling for him to step aside.

Senator Jon Tester

Montana Senator Jon Tester, who is locked in a competitive Senate race in a state expected to easily go for Trump in November, said in a July 8 statement that Biden needs to "prove" he is still able to serve 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. Meanwhile, I'll continue to do what I've always done: Stand up to President Biden when he's wrong and protect our Montana way of life," he said, according to a statement.

Representative Susan Wild

Representative Susan Wild, who represents a competitive congressional district centered around Allentown, Pennsylvania, wrote in a statement that she has expressed "concerns" about Biden but did not say he should step down.

"In a confidential conversation with other members of House Democratic leadership, I expressed the same concerns that Americans across the country are grappling with, about President Biden's electability at the top of the ticket," she wrote.

Governor Maura Healey

Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey on July 5 urged Biden to "carefully evaluate" his chances of reelection after he met with Democratic governors to address their concerns.

Other governors like Gavin Newsom of California and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan expressed confidence in Biden following the meeting. But Healey issued a more cautious statement about whether he should stay in the election.

"The best way forward right now is a decision for the president to make. Over the coming days, I urge him to listen to the American people and carefully evaluate whether he remains our best hope to defeat Donald Trump," she wrote.

Healey added that she is "committed to doing everything in my power to defeat Donald Trump" regardless of whether Biden stays in or not.

Representative Jared Huffman

California Congressman Jared Huffman said on CNN that Democrats need a "course correction" to win the presidential race, but argued it is still winnable if Democrats handle the next few weeks in a smart manner.

"We've got to acknowledge that this was not just one bad night. This is a pretty pervasive and widespread perception that's been dragging President Biden down in the polls for many months. We've got to figure this out. I think we have a couple of weeks to do it, but we've got to do it," Huffman said.

He added that he would support Harris as the nominee if Biden decides to step aside, and that he could "imagine any number of really compelling people that could round out a winning ticket with Vice President Harris."

Biden's decision should not be about "sentimentality" or "perceptions of loyalty," he said.

"It's so much bigger than that," he said. The stakes of this are everything."

Melissa DeRosa

Melissa DeRosa, a former aide to ex-New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who has been a key figure in New York politics, wrote that Biden should consider exiting the campaign, and that the decision should be made quickly, in an opinion article published in The Daily Beast.

There are only two "realistic paths forward," she wrote. Either Biden is the nominee, which she believes would mean a Trump victory without a "seismic governmental or political event" benefiting Biden. Or Harris could become the nominee, selecting Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro as her vice president, and "hope that the historic nature of her candidacy energizes the backbone of the party."

"Neither is far from a sure thing. But we have reached the fork in the proverbial road," she wrote.

Peter Welch

Senator Peter Welch of Vermont criticized the Biden campaign's response to concerns about Biden's suitability to run following the debate.

"I really do criticize the campaign for a dismissive attitude towards people who are raising questions for discussion. That's just facing the reality that we're in," Welch told Semafor.

"But that's the discussion we have to have. It has to be from the top levels of the Biden campaign to precinct captains in the southside of Chicago," he added.

Newsweek reached out to Welch via contact form on his website.

Sheldon Whitehouse

Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse urged Biden's team to be transparent about the president's condition.

"I think like a lot of people I was pretty horrified by the debate," Whitehouse told 12 News. "The blips of President Biden and the barrage of lying from President Trump were not what one would hope for in a presidential debate."

"I think people want to make sure that this is a campaign that's ready to go and win, that the president and his team are being candid with us about his condition—that this was a real anomaly and not just the way he is these days," Whitehouse said.

Newsweek reached out to Whitehouse via email.

Van Jones

CNN commentator Van Jones, who also served as special adviser for Obama, said that he was saddened watching the debate.

"That was painful. I love Joe Biden. I worked for Joe Biden. He didn't do well at all. He did not do well at all," Jones said.

"I think there's a lot of people who are going to want to see him consider taking a different course now. We're still far from our convention, and there is time for this party to figure out a different way forward if he will allow us to do that," he said.

Newsweek reached out to a representative for Jones via email.

David Axelrod

David Axelrod, ex-strategist for Obama, told CNN: "There is a sense of shock at how he came out at the beginning of this debate. How his voice sounded. He seemed a little disoriented.... There are going to be discussions about whether he should continue."

However, on Saturday, Axelrod took to X to say that Biden is unlikely to drop out of the race, rendering discussions about replacing him "irrelevant."

Newsweek reached out to a representative of Axelrod via email.

Jamie Raskin

Representative Jamie Raskin from Maryland said that there were serious conversations happening within the party about what should happen next.

"Obviously, there was a big problem with Joe Biden's debate performance," he said in an MSNBC interview.

He went on to say that there were "very honest, and serious and rigorous conversations taking place at every level of our party" following the debate.

Newsweek reached out to Raskin via a contact form on his website.

Representative Jim Clyburn

South Carolina Democrat Jim Clyburn has said he would support Harris as his party's 2024 presidential nominee if Biden "ain't there."

Speaking to USA Today in an article published on Friday he said: "I'm a Biden-Harris person, so I'm not getting away from that. I'm for Biden-Harris. I'm going to be for Biden if Harris ain't there and I'm going to be for Harris if Biden ain't there."

Update 7/9/24, 5:26 p.m. ET: This article has updated the list of Democrats who have called for Biden to step down or questioned whether he should exit the race.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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Joe Biden faces 10th House Democrat asking him not to run (2024)
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