Biden to meet with Democratic governors amid angst over debate

President Joe Biden reportedly plans to meet with Democratic governors Wednesday amid ongoing angst over his debate performance, including some waffling over whether he can continue in the race.

The meeting, which comes after Gov. Hochul and some of the governors huddled online Monday, is designed to give the state leaders a chance to interact with Biden directly and to discuss the damage done by last week’s debate, CBS News reported.

They also want to give Biden direct feedback about what steps to take to invigorate his campaign against former President Donald Trump. Some of the governors will meet in person with Biden at the White House while others will join remotely.

Jen Goodman, a spokeswoman for Gov. Hochul, publicly confirmed that Hochul took part in the Monday meeting but did not respond to requests for additional comment about whether she planned to meet with Biden Wednesday.

Hochul has been one of the most outspoken supporters of Biden since the debate flop and is one of the few governors who has spoken to him directly.

The meeting comes as Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, Tuesday became the first Democratic lawmaker to call for Biden to drop out of the race after the debate.

“President Biden delivered us from Trump in 2020. He must not deliver us to Trump in 2024,” Doggett, a veteran Austin liberal Democrat, said in a statement.

Senior Democratic lawmakers have so far stuck with Biden. But both Rep. James Clyburn, D-South Carolina, and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seemed to crack open the door somewhat to a shift away from Biden.

Clyburn told MSNBC that Democratic lawmakers and activists are almost unanimously “dug in” with supporting Biden. But he conceded that could change “if Joe Biden decided otherwise.”

Pelosi, meanwhile, said there was nothing wrong with asking questions about whether Biden is fit to continue in the race against Trump after his halting debate.

“I think it’s a legitimate question to say, is this an episode or is this a condition?” Pelosi said.

But most top Democratic leaders say a Biden withdrawal would make it more difficult for the party to hold onto the White House and win control of Congress in the fall election.

The governors are mostly some of Biden’s staunchest supporters, although some of them are also rising stars in the party who have been mentioned as possible replacements in the unlikely possibility that Biden pulls out of the presidential race.

CBS News reported that the White House initially proposed a meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris but the governors wanted to hear directly from Biden.

Biden’s debate performance last Thursday troubled many supporters. The President appeared less than fully fit and repeatedly lost his train of thought.

He also failed to aggressively counter Trump’s shocking statements on several key issues, including abortion and his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Most Democratic governors, including Gov. Hochul, have aggressively defended Biden in the days since the debate. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy praised Biden at a fundraiser in the Garden State over the weekend.