Biden’s family gathered at Camp David asks him to stay in the race and fight on

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s family used a meeting at Camp David on Sunday to urge him to stay in the race and keep fighting despite his dismal debate performance. Some members criticized the way his campaign prepared him for the showdown, according to four people familiar with the discussions.

Biden spent the day in isolation with first lady Jill Biden, his children and grandchildren, a previously planned trip to the presidential residence in Maryland for a photo op with Annie Leibovitz for the upcoming Democratic National Convention.

But the meeting was also an attempt to find a way to quell Democratic unrest that exploded after Thursday’s performance.

” READ MORE: Terrified Pennsylvania Democrats Start Cleaning Up After Biden’s Debate Failure

Even though his family knew how poorly he performed against Donald Trump, they still believe he is the best person to defeat the presumptive Republican nominee. They also believe he is capable of serving another four years as president, according to people who were not authorized to speak publicly about internal discussions and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Among the most vocal: Jill Biden and son Hunter, whom the president has long turned to for advice and guidance. Both believe the president shouldn’t back down when he’s at his lowest, and believe he can bounce back after what they see as one poor performance. The family questioned how the staff prepared him for the debate and wondered if they could have done better, the people said.

Biden’s campaign has spent the days since the debate — during which Biden’s voice was raspy, halting and sometimes gave meandering answers — working to keep donors and supporters on board as Democrats increasingly questioned whether he should remain in the race.

At this point in the delegate process, Biden would likely have to decide to withdraw so that there could be a new nominee. And the people he listens to most in the world – his wife and son – tell him to stay.

” READ MORE: Concerns about Biden’s age, Trump’s difficulty reacting to his conviction and other highlights from the first debate

Even before the debate, the age of the 81-year-old Democratic president was an issue for voters, and the prime-time overtime appeared to reinforce deep-seated public fears about perhaps the largest audience he will have in the four months until Election Day. CNN says more than 51 million people watched the debate.

While the president was with his family, prominent Democrats gathered on Sunday to publicly express support for his campaign.

“I don’t think Joe Biden will have a problem leading for the next four years,” said one close ally, Democratic Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina. “Joe Biden should continue to run on his record.”

Sen. Raphael Warnock, a Democratic-Baptist minister from Georgia, said there were “more than a few Sundays when I wished I had delivered a better sermon,” relating the experience to Biden’s debate performance.

“But after the sermon was over, my job was to embody the message, to show up for the people I serve. And that’s what Joe Biden has done his entire life,” Warnock said. It echoed the message from other supporters that Biden had a bad debate but a lifetime of good governance.

” READ MORE: The group chat was 🔥🔥🔥 as young Democrats criticized Joe Biden’s debate performance

Warnock, like Clyburn and others, addressed many of Trump’s lies during the debate – lapses that Biden and debate moderators often failed to check from the stage – including about the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters, immigration and the election result in 2020

“Every time he moved his mouth, he was lying,” Warnock said of Trump.

But there have been concerns among some Democrats that the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee are not taking the impact of the debate seriously enough.

Former Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, who served with Biden in the Senate for more than two decades, called the debate “a disaster from which Biden cannot recover.”

Harkin suggested that Democratic senators in key races and “perhaps all incumbent Democratic senators should write a letter to Biden asking him to release his delegates and step aside so the convention can choose a new candidate,” according to an email to supporters received by the Press Association. It was first mentioned in Iowa reporter Julie Gammack’s Saturday column at the Iowa Potluck.

“This is a dangerous time and what is more important is Joe Biden’s ego or desire to remain president,” Harkin concluded.

” READ MORE: Debate watchers in the Biden and Trump camps seem to agree on one thing: Biden had a bad night

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., described “very frank, serious and rigorous conversations taking place at every level of our party … about what to do.”

But DNC Chairman Jaime Harrison and Biden’s campaign manager, On Saturday afternoon, Julie Chavez Rodriguez held a teleconference with several dozen committee members from all over the country – a group of some of the most influential members of the party – during which they positively assessed the further course of the conversation, without giving any opportunity to other participants of the conversation to answer questions.

Multiple committee members interviewed, most of whom were granted anonymity to discuss the private discussion, described feeling like they were being asked to ignore a serious situation.

“There were a lot of things that could have been said to resolve this situation. But we didn’t get it. We were gaslighted,” said host Joe Salazar, a DNC member elected from Colorado.

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