4 More House Dems Call for Biden to Take a Hike in Private Call: Reports

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty
Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty

A handful of senior Democrats in Congress said that Joe Biden should drop out of the 2024 election during a conference call convened Sunday by Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, adding to the steady trickle of legislators breaking ranks to call for another nominee to be allowed to take the president’s place.

The Democrats calling for Biden to side aside were Reps. Jerry Nadler (NY), Adam Smith (WA), Mark Takano (CA), and Joe Morelle (NY), according to NBC News and Politico, which both cited sources familiar with the hour-long call.

All four are high-ranking members of vital House committees. Nadler is the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, which he chaired from 2019 to 2023. Smith is his equivalent on the House Armed Services Committee; Takano on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee; and Morelle on the House Administration Committee.

Several other legislators present—Reps. Jim Himes (CT), Zoe Lofgren (CA), Don Beyer (VA), and Rick Larsen (WA)—challenged Biden’s viability as the candidate to beat Donald Trump in less forceful terms, according to Politico.

Additional sources told NBC that there had been an “overwhelming sense” on the call that Vice President Kamala Harris was the obvious choice to replace Biden.

A journalist for Punchbowl News reported on X that Beyer had called Biden “clearly very, very fragile” and that Harris was “in a great position to win in November.” The Virginia congressman quickly disputed this, saying in a statement that he supported Biden and the Biden-Harris ticket.

Reached for comment on Sunday afternoon, a Biden campaign official pointed The Daily Beast to a Friday statement from the president’s official X account: “I’m not letting one 90-minute debate wipe out three and a half years of work. I’m staying in the race, and I will beat Donald Trump.”

The four new voices add to the slow but steady trickle of Democrats who have publicly and privately begun urging Biden to drop out of the race in the wake of his disastrous performance at the first presidential debate last month.

On Tuesday, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (TX) became the first sitting congressional Democrat to call for Biden to abandon his re-election bid. Rep. Raúl Grijalva (AZ) soon joined him, telling The New York Times that what Biden needed to do was “shoulder the responsibility for keeping that seat—and part of that responsibility is to get out of this race.”

In the days since, Reps. Seth Moulton (MA), Mike Quigley (IL), and Angie Craig (MN) have also emerged to call for the president’s withdrawal.

“This is not a decision I’ve come to lightly, but there is simply too much at stake to risk a second Donald Trump presidency,” Craig said in a statement on Saturday morning. “That’s why I respectfully call on President Biden to step aside as the Democratic nominee for a second term as President and allow for a new generation of leaders to step forward.”

The impression that Biden may not be able to beat Trump in November, let alone effectively lead the country for four more years, was compounded by a highly-anticipated interview with ABC News that aired on Friday. The president repeatedly dug his heels in during the 22-minute interview, insisting that only the “Lord Almighty” could get him to drop out.

“He’s toast,” one unimpressed House Democrat told Axios.

Still, a significant number of Democratic lawmakers have assembled behind Biden in recent days, publicly and emphatically defending him as the party’s best chance of retaining the White House come November.

“Any ‘leader’ calling for President Biden to drop out needs to get their priorities straight and stop undermining this incredible actual leader who has delivered real results for our country,” Rep. Frederica Wilson (FL) said in a statement.

“And when you contrast that with a dangerous figure like Donald Trump pushing a radical agenda to be dictator on day one and destroy our democracy, we must do everything in our power to defeat him.”

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