U.S. President Joe Biden speaks to supporters

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks to supporters during a campaign rally at Sherman Middle School on July 5, 2024 in Madison, Wisconsin.

(Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Defying Calls From Voters and Lawmakers, Biden Refuses to Step Aside in New Letter

"This is very obviously a letter to voters, not to Congress," said one reporter. "It reads like a campaign speech."

As U.S. President Joe Biden faces mounting pressure from elected officials and voters to drop out of the current contest for the White House, he remains defiant, as was on display in a Monday letter to Democratic members of Congress.

Biden's letter begins, "Now that you have returned from the July 4th recess, I want you to know that despite all the speculation in the press and elsewhere, I am firmly committed to staying in this race, to running this race to the end, and to beating Donald Trump," a former president and the presumptive Republican nominee for November.

Since Biden's poor debate performance against Trump last month, at least nine Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have called on the president to exit the race and another 18 elected officials have raised concerns about whether he is up to beating the Republican and serving another term, according toThe Washington Post's new tracker.

"I have had extensive conversations with the leadership of the party, elected officials, rank-and-file members, and most importantly, Democratic voters over these past 10 days or so," Biden wrote in the letter, which he shared on social media. "I have heard the concerns that people have—their good faith fears and worries about what is at stake in this election. I am not blind to them."

Trump is on track to get the GOP's nomination despite three ongoing criminal cases, two impeachments during his first term, a recent conviction in New York, and fears that the aspirational dictator on "day one" will impose a sweeping far-right policy agenda, aided by new king-like powers.

"Believe me, I know better than anyone the responsibility and the burden the nominee of our party carries," wrote Biden, whose win four years ago provoked some actions for which Trump now faces state and federal charges. "I carried it in 2020 when the fate of our nation was at stake."

"We had a Democratic nomination process and the voters have spoken clearly and decisively," he continued. "I received over 14 million votes, 87% of the votes cast across the entire nominating process. I have nearly 3,900 delegates, making me the presumptive nominee of our party by a wide margin."

Biden has not faced any major challengers during this year's Democratic primary process—though voters in several states checked boxes for "uncommitted," to express outrage over the administration's support for Israel's war on the Gaza Strip, which has led to a genocide case at the International Court of Justice.

Aaron Regunberg, who is part of a new campaign urging Biden to "Pass the Torch," called the primary section of Biden's letter "so breathtakingly cynical and dishonest," adding: "They blocked anyone of substance from running and refused to debate. Does anyone honestly think that if we'd seen that debate performance last fall Biden would have won a single primary?"

Responding to the letter on social media, Current Affairs similarly blasted the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for actions that have benefited Biden during the primary:

This argument is sickeningly unprincipled. The DNC did everything possible to make sure there wasn't a real primary. They refused to hold debates, rigged the calendar of elections to be maximally favorable to Biden, and pressured would-be competitors to stay out of the race.

Even as voters were overwhelmingly indicating they wanted someone other than Biden, party elites made sure they had no other viable option. And now they have the audacity to say that democracy means we have to respect their deceitful coronation of an incompetent candidate.

Biden, meanwhile, highlighted some of his administration's accomplishments on the climate, healthcare, infrastructure, jobs, and student debt relief, and proclaimed that "I have no doubt that I—and we—can and will beat Donald Trump."

"More importantly, we have an economic vision to run on that soundly beats Trump and the MAGA Republicans. They are siding with the wealthy and the big corporations and we are siding with the working people of America," he wrote, warning that the ex-president and GOP members of Congress aim to push through more tax cuts for ultrarich corporations and people while continuing to attack the Affordable Care Act, marriage equality, Medicare, reproductive rights, and Social Security.

"The question of how to move forward has been well-aired for over a week now. And it's time for it to end," Biden argued. "We have one job. And that is to beat Donald Trump. We have 42 days to the Democratic Convention and 119 days to the general election. Any weakening of resolve or lack of clarity about the task ahead only helps Trump and hurts us. It is time to come together, move forward as a unified party, and defeat Donald Trump."

The president delivered similar messages in a private call with donors on Monday—a recording of which was obtained by Politico—as well as an interview last week with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos and when he called in to MSNBC's "Morning Joe" early Monday and insisted that "I am not going anywhere."

The recent messaging has elicited a wide range of reactions, from Biden defenders welcoming "our marching orders from the president" to critics expressing disappointment over his determination to stay at the top of the ticket.

"It is hard to see how 'take a hard line in order to force a bitter public reckoning in the party shortly before the convention' is going to have a happy ending but hey who knows," journalist Hamilton Nolan said of the Monday letter.

Next Gen America stressed that "no matter who is at the top of the ticket, young voters know the stakes couldn't be higher. We are ready to turn out to defend our movement and the progress we've made and advance our own agenda."

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