‘Sad and Frustrated’ House Democrats in Disarray After Meeting on Biden’s Candidacy Fails To Reach Consensus

The mood among Democrats is reportedly sour as the fallout from the president’s troubling debate performance rages on, deeply dividing the party.

AP/John McDonnell
Jerry Nadler arrives at the Democratic National Headquarters with other Democratic members of the House of Representatives to discuss the future of President Biden running for the presidency. AP/John McDonnell

A closed-door meeting among House Democrats on Tuesday further demonstrated rifts within the party following President Biden’s disastrous debate performance, as top leaders debated whether to come together in support of Mr. Biden or call for his withdrawal. 

The private meeting, held at the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters near the Capitol, appeared to leave the party split about the Democratic ticket and Mr. Biden’s political future, as some lawmakers backed Mr. Biden while others expressed fear that he wouldn’t be able to beat President Trump, Politico reports, with one person familiar with the meeting calling the mood among Democrats “sad and frustrated.” 

Dozens of Democrats are publicly standing with Mr. Biden, including Senator Sanders, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, Senator Fetterman, and many members of the Congressional Black Caucus, which has been a key ally of the president. One supporter of Mr. Biden, Congressman Juan Vargas, called the critics within the party a “circular firing squad.” 

 “It’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen,” he said, per Politico.

Representatives Seth Moulton, Lloyd Doggett, and Mike Quigley, who have already publicly called for Mr. Biden’s withdrawal, were among those making the case on Tuesday that he should step out, the outlet notes. As to whether a verdict was reached, Congresswoman Brittany Pettersen said she didn’t think there was a “general consensus.”

One top Democrat, Representative Jerry Nadler, appeared to flip positions after expressing the idea during a call on Sunday that Mr. Biden should drop out. “Whether or not I have concerns is besides the point. He is going to be our nominee and we all have to support him,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, ahead of the House Democrats’ meeting, a smaller group of Democrats held a meeting that included “actual tears,” Axios reports. That meeting was described by attendees as “intense,” with a “pretty much unanimous” belief that Mr. Biden should withdraw, the outlet notes. 

The meetings come as a number of congressional Democrats, along with celebrities, pundits, and Democratic donors, have been calling on Mr. Biden to withdraw from the race.

Mr. Biden has said only the “Lord almighty” would convince him to drop out, and the White House has expressed growing frustration over the nearly two-weeklong fallout over the debate. 

In a letter penned to congressional Democrats on Monday, Mr. Biden doubled down that he is “firmly committed” to staying in the race and said he believed he was the “best person to beat Donald Trump in 2024.” He said the question of how to proceed had “been well-aired” and it was “time for it to end,” citing the upcoming Democratic National Convention in August.


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