“It’s time to end this”

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden in letter to democratic congressmenHe has strongly opposed calls to withdraw his candidacy and called for an end to the intraparty drama that has divided Democrats since his election the pathetic results of the public debate.

Biden’s efforts to bolster a deeply troubled Democratic Party came as lawmakers returned to Washington on Monday, facing a choice: work to revive his campaign or try to oust the party leader in a pivotal moment for his reelection and their own. political future.

Biden wrote in a two-page letter that “the issue of how to move forward has been widely discussed for more than a week. And it is time for it to end.” He emphasized that the party has “one job,” which is to defeat presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in November.

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“We have 42 days until the Democratic Convention and 119 days until the general election,” Biden said in a letter sent by his re-election campaign. “Any slackening of resolve or lack of clarity about the task ahead only helps Trump and hurts us. It is time to come together, move forward as a united party, and defeat Donald Trump.”

Fear is running high as top Democratic lawmakers join calls for Biden to step down despite his opposition. At the same time, some of the president’s most ardent supporters are doubling down on Biden’s presidency, saying there is no one better than Trump to beat him in an election many see as one of the most important of their lives.

Biden responded to the letter with a phone interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” in which he emphasized that “average Democrats” want him to stay in the race and said he was frustrated by calls from party activists for him to concede.

“These are big names, but I don’t care what they think,” Biden said.

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He threw down the gauntlet to his critics, saying that if they were earnest, they should “announce their run for president, challenge me at the convention” or stand with him against Trump. Biden later joined a call with members of his national finance committee, while first lady Jill Biden campaigned for her husband in a three-state swing state focused on engaging veterans and military families.

“Despite all the rumors about this race, Joe has made it clear that he is fully committed,” she told a crowd of military personnel in Wilmington, N.C. “This is a decision he made, and just as he has always supported my career, I am fully committed.”

Democratic voters are divided on whether Biden should remain the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee or another Democratic candidate should be named, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll.

As lawmakers consider whether Biden should stay or gothere seem to be no straightforward answers.

It’s an uncertain and highly volatile moment for the president’s party. Democrats who have worked with Biden for years — if not decades — and valued his work on policy priorities are now asking uncomfortable questions about his political future. And it’s unfolding as Biden hosts world leaders at NATO summit this week in Washington.

Time is not on their side – the Democratic National Convention is almost a month away and the Republicans’ meeting in Milwaukee is just a week away. re-nominate Trump as their presidential candidate. Many Democrats say the focus should be not on Biden but on the former president’s felony conviction in a bribery case and the pending federal fees in his effort to invalidate the 2020 elections.

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This is what Biden himself might call a turning point. As he boldly says he will step down only if the Lord Almighty comes and tells him to, Democrats in the House and Senate are deciding how hard they want to fight the president to change course, or whether they want to change course at all.

In an effort to “get closer,” House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries is calling lawmakers into private meetings to discuss his own preferences before he expresses them, according to a person familiar with the situation who asked not to be identified. He planned to gather several Democrats whose reelection chances are most at risk Monday.

A private phone call Sunday among about 15 top House committee members revealed a deepening divide, as at least four more Democrats — Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut, Rep. Adam Smith of Washington state and Rep. Mark Takano of California — privately said Biden should resign.

Nadler, as one of the more senior members of the conversation, was the first to say Biden should step down, according to a person familiar with the conversation who was granted anonymity to discuss it. He did so out of awareness of his seniority and the possibility that it would allow others to join him.

Many other participants in the call expressed concerns about Biden’s ability and chances of winning reelection, even if they did not outright say Biden should drop out of the race.

Other members, including Rep. Maxine Waters of California and Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia, both leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus, strongly backed Biden, as did Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts, the top Democrat on the powerful Ways and Means Committee.

And several lawmakers appeared frustrated that leadership was not providing direction or a path forward, according to people familiar with the call. One Democratic lawmaker said that regardless of the decision, the situation “must end now,” one of the people said.

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Neal later said the most vital thing is that Biden defeated Trump in 2020 and “will do it again in November.”

The upheaval is also testing a novel generation of leaders, led by Jeffries and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Both New Yorkers have refrained from publicly guiding lawmakers on the path forward as they balance differing opinions within their ranks.

A retired female announcer stands behind the scenes Nancy Pelosiwho continues to field calls from lawmakers seeking advice on the matter and is widely seen as someone to watch in making final decisions about Biden’s future because of her close ties to the president and her vote-counting skills in partisan politics.

Pelosi spoke out last week, saying Biden’s debate performance raised “legitimate” questions he had to answer but that she still supports the president. And Biden called her last week when he reached out to other party leaders.

When Biden’s prime-time ABC interview on Friday seemed to do nothing to serene worried Democrats and some said it made things worse, Pelosi took to social media to publicly praise Biden as “a great president who continues to meet the expectations of American cooks,” adding, “and we’re not done yet!”

Schumer has tried to stay out of the spotlight throughout this time, but on Tuesday he will convene Democratic senators for a weekly lunch where they are sure to air many of their views.

One Democrat, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, had intended to gather senators on Monday to discuss Biden privately, but a person familiar with his thinking said those conversations would instead take place during Tuesday’s regular caucus lunch with all Democratic senators.

Another Democrat, Sen. Alex Padilla of California, said it was “time to stop wringing our hands and get back to knocking on doors.”

Padilla spoke to Biden over the weekend and urged his campaign to “let Joe be Joe.”

“Given the debate, I think the campaign has no choice,” Padilla said Sunday, explaining that Biden needs to hold town halls and unscripted events to show voters “the Joe Biden that I know and that most Americans have learned to grow and love.”

While some big-money donors may feel uncomfortable, strategists working on the House and Senate races say they have seen record fundraising results as donors see congressional Democrats as a “firewall” and last line of defense against Trump.

Democratic candidates campaigning with Biden are being advised to focus on building their own brands and touting the impact their work in Congress has on their local districts.

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