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U.S. President Joe Biden attends the first presidential debate hosted by CNN in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., June 27, 2024. REUTERS/Marco Bello

International

Biden Holds Firm as Pressure Mounts from Democratic Peers

Amid mounting pressure from fellow Democrats urging him to withdraw from his re-election campaign, President Joe Biden showed no indication on Saturday that he was considering stepping aside. This follows defiant public appearances the day before.

Biden, aged 81, is facing increasing dissent from congressional Democrats and influential donors who question his ability to defeat Republican Donald Trump, aged 78, in the upcoming November 5 election. Despite a highly anticipated interview with ABC News on Friday that seemed to do little to allay concerns, Biden remains resolute.

During the interview, Biden remarked that only “the Lord Almighty” could persuade him to abandon his campaign, dismissing the notion that Democratic leaders could convince him otherwise. The White House reported that Biden held a routine call with the national co-chairs of his campaign on Saturday.

Pressure is expected to intensify as Congress reconvenes from a holiday break, potentially making it one of the pivotal weeks of Biden’s presidency. During this critical period, Biden will host numerous world leaders at a significant NATO summit in Washington and is scheduled to hold a closely watched press conference.

Representative Angie Craig of Minnesota became the first Democratic House member in a battleground district to call for Biden to reconsider his candidacy. She cited concerns stemming from Biden’s performance at a recent debate and the subsequent lack of a robust response.

Reports indicate that some Democratic House lawmakers are circulating letters urging Biden to step aside, with discussions likely to escalate following the ABC News interview. House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries has scheduled a virtual meeting with senior House Democrats on Sunday to discuss Biden’s candidacy and the path forward.

On the Senate side, Senator Mark Warner has been reaching out to fellow Democratic senators to convene a potential meeting on Monday to deliberate on Biden’s campaign.

Biden spent Saturday at his Delaware home with no public events scheduled, apart from attending an evening church service. His Sunday itinerary includes campaign events in Pennsylvania.

Despite polls showing Trump’s lead over Biden widening and concerns among Democrats about down-ballot races, Biden’s best showing yet in a Bloomberg News/Morning Consult poll of battleground states offers some encouragement. In these critical states, Trump leads Biden by only 2 percentage points.

A positive development for Biden occurred early Saturday when Hamas accepted a U.S. proposal to initiate talks on releasing Israeli hostages, potentially paving the way for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Vice President Kamala Harris, seen as a top contender to replace Biden if he were to step aside, spoke at the Essence Festival of Culture in New Orleans, targeting Black women voters. Harris criticized former President Trump and the U.S. Supreme Court’s actions on abortion rights, aiming to bolster support for the Biden campaign among Black voters.

Following Biden’s rally in Madison, Wisconsin, Harris expressed support for him on social media, emphasizing his lifelong commitment to fighting for Americans and rallying support for his campaign.

Margaret Washa, a retired physical therapist from Middleton, Wisconsin, attended Biden’s rally in Madison and initially found him vigorous but grew concerned after watching the interview. She expressed a belief that it’s time for a new generation of Democratic leaders to take the reins, emphasizing the need for younger, charismatic leaders to lead the nation forward.

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