Ex-Sanders aide says DNC should release Biden contingency plan

A former top aide to Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) presidential campaigns said Sunday that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) needs to clarify the backup plan should President Biden choose to drop out of the race.

Jeff Weaver, who was an adviser to Sanders’s 2016 and 2020 White House runs and worked on Rep. Dean Phillips’s (D-Minn.) brief 2024 campaign, called on the party to be transparent with voters after Biden’s poor debate performance raised concerns about his candidacy last week.

“We need to have a process in place so that if [Biden] were to get out, we would not have chaos and pandemonium,” Weaver said in a NewsNation “The Hill Sunday” interview with Chris Stirewalt.

“I think the DNC should announce that should the president withdraw, we will have a couple of debates in July among leading candidates and those candidates can campaign around the country,” he continued. “You can set up some threshold, so you only get ‘serious candidates’ in the mix. And then those people could go to the convention and make an appeal that can be set up.”

“Even though we don’t know yet what Joe Biden is going to do,” he added. “But I think it’s incumbent on the party, which has a responsibility to the president, but also to the larger rank and file of the party and to defeat Donald Trump, that we have to set up a process now.”

Biden’s first debate performance raised alarms with some Democrats and supporters. The president, at times, showed difficulty stringing ideas together and overall appeared tired. A rising number of Democratic voters, including some unnamed lawmakers, have called on Biden to step aside and allow a different candidate to take the party’s nomination.

The president could not be overthrown from the ticket at the convention because he’s already won the primary, so it would have to be his decision.

Weaver said the top names should Biden bow out would likely be Vice President Harris, Govs. Gavin Newsom (Calif.) and Gretchen Whitmer (Mich.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.).

He emphasized, though, that the issue many voters have with Biden is not his age, per se, but really about his health and mental faculties.

“You know, this whole thing is not about Biden’s age,” he said. “It is about people’s perception of his vigor. That’s what it’s about. I don’t think it’s really an age question. It’s a bigger question.”

A CBS News poll Sunday found that more than 70 percent of voters believe Biden does not have the mental health to continue serving as president.

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