Networks Frame Joe Biden’s NATO Speech As Latest Test For POTUS Amid Calls To Drop Out Of 2024 Race

Joe Biden, speaking to the NATO Summit in Washington, declared that “Russia will not prevail” in the war in Ukraine and that the alliance “is stronger than it has ever been in its history.”

But the speech was framed on news networks as the latest test for the president amid calls coming from within the Democratic party and among prominent donors to exit the 2024 race.

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Just minutes before CNN cut away to Biden’s speech, Jake Tapper announced that Cook Political Report, the venerable election prognosticators, had shifted the electoral status of six states in Donald Trump’s direction. During the speech itself, Fox News went with the chyron, “Biden speaks to NATO, aims to show fitness.” MSNBC played up the split screen moment of Vice President Kamala Harris, finishing a fiery campaign speech in Nevada, while Biden was readying to take the stage before world leaders at the summit.

In his interviews with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos and on Morning Joe, Biden has cited the expansion of NATO during his presidency as one of his success stories, or proof that he is more than able to fulfill the duties of the presidency. His speech gave him an opportunity to show his role as elder statesman, even if this time around he withheld criticism of Trump as a coddler of Vladimir Putin.

“This is a pivotal moment for Europe and the transatlantic community, and I might add for the world,” Biden said. “Let’s remember: The fact that NATO remains the bulwark of global security did not happen by accident.”

Biden then awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Jens Stoltenberg, the outgoing secretary general of NATO.

On Capitol Hill, Democratic lawmakers were hounded by reporters asking where they stand on Biden staying in the race, after an avalanche of stories of how party elected officials, donors and key supporters are freaked out by the president’s ability to defeat Trump following his dismal debate performance. Some lawmakers have gone public in recent days in their calls for Biden to exit, while others have cautioned for a wait and see. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY) told reporters that “the matter is closed,” Biden is the nominee and she’s very much supporting him.

But others were a bit terse. Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), asked three times about supporting Biden and concerns over his age, told reporters, “I’m with Joe.” Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA), chair of the House Democratic Caucus, said, “Right now, President Biden is the nominee. And we support the Democratic nominee that will beat Donald Trump. That is a fact. That is where we are.”

White House officials have wanted to turn the page on concerns over the debate performance and the president’s age, but despite Biden’s insistence that he is staying in the race, media coverage of the anxieties and dismay within the party isn’t ending. The next level of scrutiny will be on Thursday, when Biden won’t have a scripted speech, but will face reporters in a press conference.

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