Breaking: Biden’s Dem Critics Wait for the ‘Tipping Point’ as President’s Hill Allies Dig in Their Heels

Fresh off their July Fourth recess, many congressional Democrats returned to Capitol Hill this week feeling jaded about their new reality – President Joe Biden is adamant about continuing his 2024 reelection bid after his disastrous June 27 debate performance, and intra-party doubts about his electoral viability are only making him dig in his heels.

The president has spent recent days since the debate struggling to stem the bleeding on Capitol Hill and in donor world in the crucial weeks ahead of his party’s mid-August nominating convention in Chicago. His strategy has won over some key allies like House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D., N.Y.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), and Congressional Black Caucus chairman Steven Horsford (D., Nev.), all of whom maintain they are standing with Biden as some within their ranks continue to publicly entertain the argument that the president should pass the torch — and quickly.

As the clock ticks, at least one lawmaker who has already called on Biden to drop out is hinting that more defections are imminent. Representative Mike Quigley (D., Ill.) told National Review Monday evening that "a lot" of his colleagues privately share his publicly stated belief that the president should bow out of the race.

"The line is: 'I agree with you. I’m not going public – yet,'" he said in a brief interview with NR Monday. "They just haven’t gotten to the tipping point." But if not Biden, then who? "To be legitimate, there has to be a process the American people believe in," Quigley added. "So let's just let it take its course one step at a time."

House Democrats are set to meet behind closed doors Tuesday morning to discuss intra-party concerns about Biden's viability. Even though only a handful of Democratic members have called on him to bow out of the race as of this week, there exists a sizable chunk of congressional Democrats who insist that Biden must do more to reassure lawmakers and voters that he is fit to keep an aggressive campaign schedule — and win.

Many of those concerned Democrats are in the Senate. It's important for Democrats "to have an open discussion and to have an open debate" about Biden's viability to ensure that they are on the right path to winning the White House, hold the Senate, and flip the House, Senator Michael Bennet (D., Colo.) told reporters Monday evening. "I was surprised by the debate and am hopeful that it was just, as the campaign has said, 'One bad night.' But I don’t– I don’t think the week since has been a very good week for the White House," Bennet added. "I need to be able to see that he is ready to go out there and campaign day and night vigorously and passionately."

The go-to line from the president's supporters on Capitol Hill goes something like this – Biden is the nominee, he had one rough night onstage, he still has time to turn things around, and it's time for Democrats to focus on beating Donald Trump.

"It’s not new that he stutters, stumbles or mumbles sometimes," Representative Robin Kelly (D., Ill.) told National Review outside the U.S. Capitol Monday evening, adding that she's "ridin' with Biden" and that he has to "keep doing the work" on the campaign trail to turn things around.

"I spoke with the president extensively this weekend," Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) told reporters. "He has made abundantly clear that he is in this race. He has made abundantly clear that he is not leaving this race. He is the nominee. I am making sure that I support him and that I am focused on making sure that we win in November."

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) told reporters that Democrats must simply “more aggressively make his case to the American people about what’s at stake in this election.”

“I know for sure this election is about more than just one night,” Blumenthal added.

Senator Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) similarly said the debate was only “one rough night,” whereas under a second Trump term, Americans will get “a lot of rough nights.”

Biden’s supporters on the Hill seem to be picking up on the argument he made in a letter to congressional Democrats Monday morning, in which he warned that public doubts about his electoral viability will only hurt his party's chances in the long run. "The question of how to move forward has been well-aired for over a week now. And it's time for it to end," Biden wrote in the Monday letter. "Any weakening of resolve or lack of clarity about the task ahead only helps Trump and hurts us. It is time to come together."

And yet some high-ranking Democrats on Capitol Hill aren't quite convinced he's the right candidate to defeat Trump in 2024. Senate President Pro Tempore Patty Murray (D., Wash.) — the same Democrat who publicly admonished Wall Street Journal reporters last month for reporting on Biden’s growing lapses — said in a statement on Monday that the party needs to "see a much more forceful and energetic candidate on the campaign trail," and that the president "must seriously consider the best way to preserve his incredible legacy and secure it for the future."

"I watched the debate, and it raised a lot of questions," Senate Democratic whip Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) the second-highest ranking Senate Democrat, told reporters on Monday. "He is trying to answer those questions. In some respects, he's done it very effectively. In other respects, not as effectively."

As some Democrats continue air public grievances about the president's debate performance and belated cleanup, others are growing consigned to the reality that the window is closing on the possibility that he will step aside ahead of the convention next month. Absent a sudden change of heart from the stubborn president in the coming weeks, Democrats are stuck with their current incumbent.

"Any of these guys that don't think I should run, run against me. Announce for president, challenge me at the convention," Biden told MSNBC’s "Morning Joe" anchors Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough in a Monday morning phone interview.

David Zimmermann contributed reporting.

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Biden’s Dem Critics Wait for the ‘Tipping Point’ as President’s Hill Allies Dig in Their Heels

‘The line is: 'I agree with you. I’m not going public – yet,'’ Mike Quigley, one of the few ... READ MORE


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