NYT’s Bret Stephens: Shapiro or Whitmer should take Biden’s place in White House race

New York Times columnist Bret Stephens this week suggested that President Biden should step aside to allow a rising Democrat to take his place in the presidential race.

In an op-ed published Tuesday, Stephens argued that the only option left for Biden to clinch a “win” for the country would be to drop out of the race and let either Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) or Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) take the reins. Shapiro, 50, and Whitmer, 52, are two of Biden’s top reelection campaign surrogates as the president hopes to secure victories in their respective states.

President Biden, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
President Biden, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

“It all leaves the president with one option that can be a win for America and, ultimately, his place in history. He can still choose not to run, to cede the field to a Democrat who can win — paging Josh Shapiro or Gretchen Whitmer — and do the hard and brave things it will take to secure security and peace for the free world,” Stephens wrote.

“There’s still time, if only just. It would be a courageous, honorable and transformative legacy,” he added.

Stephens also wrote that Biden needs some wins both domestically and internationally to appeal to voters. He argued in the op-ed, headlined “The Most Courageous Thing That Joe Biden Can Do,” that the president’s only option is to allow another Democrat to take his place in the election.

“Biden is sleepwalking to defeat against a felonious adversary who three years ago incited violence to overturn an election,” Stephens wrote, pointing to Biden’s low approval ratings.

Stephens wrote that Biden “desperately needs some wins — real, not cosmetic, ones.”

He criticized the president over his handling of the wars in Ukraine and Gaza. He suggested that Biden needs to approve sending more U.S. weapons to war-torn Ukraine, including the F-16s promised last year, to secure a win.

He also said that a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war would not be a “real” win for Biden and instead suggested that Biden reaching a deal with Saudi Arabia could “rescue” the situation.

Biden and former President Trump are headed toward a rematch of the 2020 election in what is expected to be a close race. The Hill/Decision Desk HQ’s national polling average shows Trump with a narrow 1-point lead over Biden. However, neither candidate has more than 50 percent support, according to the polling average.

Stephens in a December 2021 column urged Biden not to run for reelection.

The Hill has reached out to Biden’s campaign for comment on the most recent column.

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