Joe Biden Will “Absolutely Not” Resign, White House Press Secretary Declares; “Not Leaving,” POTUS Tells Staff As Debate Blast Radius Expands

Joe Biden says he’s not going anywhere despite his self-admitted bad performance at the debate with Donald Trump last week.

“Let me say this as clearly as I possibly can as simply and straightforward as I can: I am running,” the increasingly besieged POTUS told his staff on a conference call Wednesday, a source on the call tells Deadline. “I’m not leaving. I’m in this race to the end and we’re going to win.”

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Fighting what sources tell Deadline is “very low morale” in the White House and the campaign and potentially “critical” next couple of days, 81-year-old Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris followed up the Executive Mansion meeting with a call with re-election staffs.

Emphasizing the June 27 debate “wasn’t a great night” for her boss, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that Biden would “absolutely not” resign even if he would step back from running for re-election — not that he has any intention of making such a move.

“The President is clear-eyed, and he is staying in the race,” Jean-Pierre said to the White House press corps in remarks carried live on all the cable newsers and others. “I don’t have anything else beyond that. He is staying, he’s staying in the race.”

Jean-Pierre deflected questions about why Biden has started to blame his terrible debate performance on jet lag and fatigue from a number of overseas trips when he returned Stateside over a week before the meet-up with Trump. She also weaved away from suggestions that the president show up in the Press Room and take questions from the media directly. Just an hour or so after Biden and the Vice President met for a long scheduled lunch, the press secretary made a point of praising Kamala Harris as a top Democratic leader and strong “partner” for the President.

“One of the reasons he picked Vice President Kamala Harris is that she is indeed the future of the party,” Jean-Pierre said of Biden’s 2020 and 2024 running mate Friday, in words that resonated even stronger than even today.

“We are living in an important moment right now,” the Press Secretary did say of the extremely close rematch with Trump. “Everything is at stake.”

Earlier Wednesday, as more polls have come out showing a fall for Biden, the New York Times reported that a key alley of the president’s said POTUS  “knows he may not be able to salvage his candidacy if he cannot convince the public in the coming days that he is up for the job after a disastrous debate performance last week.” In response, the White House has repeatedly called the NYT story “false.”

Still, as top contributor Damon Lindelof this morning called for donors to “stop giving” to the Biden campaign and other Democrats until the president moves aside, POTUS faces a grilling of sort from Democratic governors in-person and virtually in a White House meeting Wednesday. It should be noted, more than a few of those governors have White House ambitions of their own.

RELATED: Joe Biden Blames Travel Schedule For Debate Performance, Says He “Almost Fell Asleep On Stage”

The Biden crisis has given Trump a bit of a free ride the past couple of days, even with harsh rulings in his favor from the Supreme Court.

Amidst worries about down ballot consequences, Congressional leaders are also meeting this afternoon to air out their feelings about the situation. Participating in a series of carefully managed events today and on July 4th, Biden will sit down with George Stephanopoulos on July 5 for an extended interview in the hopes of turning the tide.

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Of course, continuing the bubble wrap tactic the White House had put in place aound the president, the interview isn’t live, and will not be seen in full on ABC until July 7.

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