“I’m Going To Beat Trump”: Defiant Biden Tells Donors & Jeffrey Katzenberg He’s Done Talking About Debate Disaster; Will Not Exit Race

A number of polls and pundits say Joe Biden should exit the race against Donald Trump after his debate debacle and ensuing fallout, but the President of the United States says he’s truly in it to win it.

“I have one job, and that’s to beat Donald Trump,” the 81-year-old incumbent told a conference call of major donors this morning in Biden’s latest attempt to shift the tide and shut down the talk of him stepping back for another candidate.

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“I’m absolutely certain I’m the best person to be able to do that,” Biden said to his reelection National Finance Committee in a what one Hollywood participant described as a “forceful presentation that sounded like the Biden I used to know.”

Among those on the call was super-fundraiser and campaign co-chair Jeffrey Katzenberg, Deadline has learned. Close to the president, Katzenberg has earned the ire of many a fellow donor and bundler over the last week with accusations of concealing the president’s true condition. To that, the former DreamWork boss has been silent and out of the public eye since Biden’s slurring and rambling June 27 debate performance cast POTUS’ potency against the more 78-year-old Trump in doubt.

Katzenberg didn’t say anything today, I hear, but in language very similar to a two-page letter he sent to top Democrats on Capitol Hill Monday, the besieged Joe Biden made his own point pretty clear.

Having repeatedly said over the past week that the live face-off on CNN with Trump was a “bad night,” POTUS today added: “So, we’re done talking about the debate, it’s time to put Trump in a bullseye.”

As a whispering campaign among some top Democrats intensifies and deep pocket loyalists like Damon Lindelof, Reed Hastings, Abigail Disney, and yesterday Rob Reiner, have pleaded with the seemingly increasingly frail Biden to drop out, the president up the ante on his personal persuasion campaign. Today avowed Biden fam Stephen King said it was time for POTUS “to announce he will not run for re-election.”

“I’m not going anywhere folks,” POTUS said on Monday’s quickly scheduled call. “I’m in this to the end, and I’m going to beat Trump,” he said, Deadline can confirm from audio of the call.

After his remarks, Biden took four apparently pre-selected questions on the call. One question about the hard right Project 2025 was from the man who planned Biden’s granddaughter’s wedding at the White House last year.

Edging closer to what was on many participants’ minds, another question wanted to know what would be Biden’s strategy going into the planned September debate with former Celebrity Apprentice host. “Attack, attack, attack,” Biden bluntly said.

“I don’t know if it’s enough, but he sure sounded on the ball,” one ex-studio exec who was on the call said to Deadline after it as done. The exec noted that the next few days will be critical for Biden. “The convention is about a month away, we have to have this settled by then or Trump will have the upper hand.”

The call with donors Monday lasted about an hour.

Coming off a series of campaign events over the weekend, some on the teleprompter, some not, plus that less than stellar (though well-watched) July 5 sit-down with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, Biden kicked off this week earlier by pulling a trick out of the Trump dumpster. The president called into MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Monday to hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, “I am not going anywhere.”

Today’s calls and that correspondence with Congressional leaders were the first flexes the president intends to make this week in the hopes to keep his candidacy alive. World leaders will be in DC for the NATO Summit over the next few days giving Biden a chance to shine at “running the world,” as he termed his job to Stephanopoulos last Friday. After that, the president heads to the battleground state of Michigan and Motor City on July 12 for campaign events.

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