Biden’s candidacy faces new threat as Nancy Pelosi, George Clooney and other Democrats weigh in

WASHINGTON — The President Joe Biden threatened re-election campaign faced new trouble Wednesday when retired House Speaker Nancy Pelosi he only said that “it’s up to the president to decide” whether he should stay in the race, a well-known donor George Clooney said he should not run, and Democratic senators and lawmakers expressed new concerns about his ability to defeat Republicans Donald Trump.

Sudden wave of stern statements despite Biden’s decision Strong insistence won’t leave the 2024 race, which will be a public display of how uncertain the issue remains among prominent Democrats. On Capitol Hill, the eighth-ranking House Democrat, Rep. Pat Ryan of New York, publicly asked Biden to concede.

“I want him to do whatever he decides to do,” Pelosi said Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” rather than saying Biden should stay in power. While Biden has repeatedly said he has made up his mind, she said, “We all encourage him to make that decision because time is running out.”

It’s a pivotal moment for the president and his party as Democrats consider the once unthinkable — for Biden to step down just weeks before the Democratic National Convention that is expected to nominate him as their running mate. re-election.

” READ MORE: Vice President Kamala Harris to visit Philadelphia on Saturday as Biden campaign tries to revive

Biden is hosting world leaders in Washington for the NATO summit this week with a packed schedule of formal meetings, sideline chats and long diplomatic dinners showcasing his skills. With his party at a crossroads, Biden faces another national public test Thursday at a scheduled news conference that many Democrats in Congress will be watching for signs of his skills.

To be sure, Biden enjoys strong support from key members of his coalition, especially the Congressional Black Caucus on Capitol Hill, whose leadership played a key role in delivering the president’s victory in 2020 and which now sees him as the nation’s best candidate to defeat Trump again in 2024.

“The stakes are too high right now, and we need to focus,” Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota told The Associated Press on Tuesday, saying Democrats are “losing ground” the longer they fight Biden’s candidacy. “Democracy is on the line. Everything we value as Democrats, as a country, is on the line, and we need to stop getting distracted.”

Pelosi has been widely watched for signals about how top Democrats feel about Biden candidacy hurtHer comments were seen as crucial to the party’s direction as members consider possible alternatives campaign against trump card.

Given her powerful position as a former House speaker and her close relationship with Biden as a trusted, longtime ally of her generation, Pelosi is seen as one of the few Democratic leaders who could influence the president’s thinking.

” READ MORE: Here’s where Pennsylvania’s Democratic congressional caucuses stand on whether Biden should remain the nominee

Pelosi’s lack of a full statement supporting Biden’s continued campaign is something lawmakers are likely to hear most clearly, even as she later told ABC she believes she can win. Her comments came as actor Clooney, who was hosting a flashy Hollywood Fundraiser for the president last month, he said in an editorial in the New York Times that the Biden he saw three weeks ago was not the Joe Biden of 2020. “It was the same man we all saw at the debate.”

Senator Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat, spoke forcefully behind schedule Tuesday about the dangers of a second Trump presidency and said the president needed to “consider” his options.

Bennet, just before Biden called for his withdrawal, told CNN the same thing he had told his colleagues privately — that he believed Trump “was well on his way to winning this election — and maybe he would win it in a landslide and take the Senate and the House with him.”

Bennet said: “This is not a political question. It is a moral question about the future of our country.”

Another Democrat, Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, said Wednesday he was “deeply concerned” by Biden’s win in an election he called existential for the country.

“We need to reach an agreement as quickly as possible,” Blumenthal told CNN.

And Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia told reporters: “I have every confidence that Joe Biden will do something patriotic for this country. And he will make that decision.”

Democrats are weighing whether to continue supporting Biden after his destitute performance in the June 27 presidential debate with Trump and his campaign’s lackluster response to their calls for Biden, at age 81, to show voters he can serve another four-year term.

Biden and his campaign are now working harder to shore up support, and the president met with union leaders On Wednesday, he counted on the support of trade unions, believing that achievements in office matter more than age.

Speaking to the executive council of the AFL-CIO, the largest U.S. labor federation, Biden told the crowd that even Wall Street recognizes the power of unions, and he reiterated his vision of an economy built “from the bottom up and the middle out.”

“I said I would be the most pro-union president in American history,” Biden told a cheering crowd. “And guess what? I am.”

While more House Democrats have publicly called on Biden to end his candidacy, no Senate Democrat has gone that far. Bennet was one of three Democratic senators, including Jon Tester of Montana and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who spoke at a private lunch Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the meeting who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss it.

The president’s team is sending senior Biden advisers Mike Donilon and Steve Ricchetti, as well as Biden’s campaign chairwoman, Jen O’Malley Dillon, to meet privately with Democratic senators for lunch on Thursday, according to a Senate leadership aide and a Biden campaign official.

But there was some concern that it could backfire. One Democratic senator, who requested anonymity to discuss the closed meeting, said it could be a waste of time if Biden didn’t make the case to senators himself.

Pelosi, D-Calif., said Biden “has been a great president” whom House Democrats love and respect.

The Californian said she saw him deliver a powerful speech at the NATO summit on Tuesday and talk about his many achievements.

With foreign leaders in Washington this week and Biden on the international stage hosting an event at a key moment for foreign policy, Pelosi encouraged Democrats to “just hold off” on any announcements about his campaign.

“Whatever you think, tell someone privately, but you don’t have to put it on the table until we see,” she said, “how it goes.”

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