More Senior Democrats Join Call for Biden to Step Aside, Reports Say

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Multiple House Democrats joined calls for President Joe Biden to hand over his candidacy for the U.S. election to another candidate during a private meeting on Sunday with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, according to U.S. media reports.

During the Zoom call, promoted as a “listening session” by Jeffries, senior Democrats discussed possible ways to convince Biden that he should step aside in the aftermath of a debate performance that was widely criticized and labeled as a “bad night” by Biden himself.

Read More: Inside Biden’s Debate Disaster

According to reports by CBS and the New York Times, the House Democrats that said Biden should leave the race included Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, who serves as the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee; Rep. Mark Takano of California, who serves as the ranking member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee; Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, who serves as the co-chair of the Congressional Caucus for Effective Foreign Assistance; and Rep. Joe Morelle of New York, who serves as the ranking member of the Committee on House Administration. Other representatives on the call also expressed skepticism about the President’s chances of winning a second election against former President Donald Trump, according to both outlets.

The Associated Press reported that Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut, who serves as the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, also voiced support for Biden to step aside. The New York Times and CBS reported, however, that Himes expressed concern for Biden’s electoral chances but did not say he called for the President to make way for another candidate. (TIME has reached out to Himes for comment.)

Read More: ‘I’m in This Race to the End’: Biden Digs His Heels as Calls to Drop Out Grow Louder

The news comes as concerns about Biden’s mental fitness in the aftermath of the June 27 debate performance mount. At least five Democratic lawmakers have publicly stated that the 81-year-old Biden should not seek a second term as President.

The Biden campaign has rejected calls to step aside. “I'm not letting one 90-minute debate wipe out three and a half years of work,” the President posted on X last week. “I'm staying in the race, and I will beat Donald Trump.”

A poll conducted in August 2023 by The Associated Press–NORC Center for Public Research found that 69% of Democrats said Biden was too old to serve effectively for another four years.

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