Biden’s family encourages him to stay in the race as they discuss whether top advisers should be fired

Joe Biden’s family on Sunday encouraged the president to stay in the 2024 race and privately discussed whether top aides should be fired on the heels of Biden’s stunningly poor debate performance, which has thrown his campaign into turmoil.

Biden’s family, including first lady Jill Biden, son Hunter Biden and their grandchildren, convened at Camp David for a previously scheduled get-together and implored the president to keep fighting in his bid for reelection, Biden advisers told CNN. One adviser described the family members as having offered their “unequivocal support.”

The family – clearly frustrated with the team that prepared President Biden ahead of his alarming debate with former President Donald Trump – discussed whether any of Biden’s top advisers should be fired and whether campaign staffing changes should be made, one adviser said.

Biden, however, is known for being loyal to and protective of his close advisers, and does not like to fire aides. As of Sunday, it did not appear that any major staffing changes were looming.

The admiration and support that Biden’s family showed the president Sunday mirrored the first lady’s effusive public praise for her husband in recent days. She told Vogue on Sunday that the family will “not let those 90 minutes define the four years he’s been president” and vowed to “continue the fight.”

The family gathering at the presidential retreat came as Biden and his campaign are confronting an avalanche of calls for the president to drop out after Thursday’s CNN presidential debate. The discussions also focused on how members of the Biden clan could help the president and not whether he should reconsider his candidacy, one of the advisers said.

Biden is eagerly collecting data – anecdotal evidence and public polling – but is awaiting a broader round of Democratic campaign polling and research this week, advisers said, bracing for expected slippage of support across battleground states. Advisers preemptively blamed tough media coverage for any downfall, rather than Biden’s own performance.

The shock of the CNN debate is still settling in for many, with the president and those close to him in the earliest stages of processing the immediate fallout. The family’s view – that Biden must keep fighting – could shift in the coming days if the downward spiral continues and if the president becomes convinced that exiting the race would avoid dragging down Democrats this fall.

The opinion of Biden’s family would be crucial in determining his political future – even more so than the president’s famously insular inner circle of top advisers.

Those advisers are now under great scrutiny, with party insiders openly questioning how they allowed the president to take the stage last week to face off against Donald Trump knowing what they must have known. The Biden team had spent nearly a full week hunkered down at Camp David, trying to prepare the president for any scenario that he might confront inside the CNN studio in Atlanta.

Biden and his family convened Sunday for a long-planned photo shoot with renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz. Senior advisers had insisted to CNN on Saturday that the gathering was not aimed at discussing whether the president would remain in the race.

Angst toward some of Biden’s key staff members has started to spill out into public view. Florida attorney John Morgan, one of the Democratic Party’s most prolific and prominent donors, singled out senior adviser Anita Dunn and her husband, Bob Bauer, who is Biden’s personal attorney.

“Biden has for too long been fooled by the value of Anita Dunn and her husband. They need to go … TODAY,” Morgan wrote on X on Sunday.

The White House declined to comment on Morgan’s post.

This story and headline have been updated with additional information.

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