Tri-State Democrats sound off on President Biden's electability ahead of NATO summit

Sonia Rincón Image
Thursday, July 11, 2024 3:25AM
Democrats divided on whether Biden should stay in presidential race
Sonia Rincon reports the president is set to attend NATO on Wednesday.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- President Joe Biden was back on the world stage for the NATO summit on Wednesday, as his electability remains under intense scrutiny.

Some Tri-State leaders are among those calling for Biden to step aside, while many others on Capitol Hill are standing by the president, even if they're reluctant.

"As I've said before, I'm with Joe," said Sen. Charles Schumer, (D) NY, Majority Leader.

Sen. Schumer is on the growing list of Democrats doubling down with their support for President Biden and his determination to stay on the campaign trail.

House Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, of Brooklyn, has also continued to support the president after a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus.

"We look forward to continuing to have candid, comprehensive and clear-eyed discussions with members of the House Democratic Caucus over the next day or so while are together and then we're going to go out and we're going to win," Jeffries said.

Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage is also backing Biden and spoke out after participating on a conference call with the president on Tuesday night. He said the party needs to unify quickly and get behind the president.

But there's another camp in the party, expressing concerns.

New York Lt. Gov Antonio Delgado called for Biden to step aside and "make room for a new leader" on Wednesday.

"There is no greater threat to our democracy than former President Donald Trump," Delgado said in part in a statement. "He must be defeated. That is why I join with millions of Americans -- including everyday New Yorkers from all walks of life -- who are expressing concerns about President Biden's ability to wage a successful campaign against Trump."

That is a huge split from Gov. Kathy Hochul, who up until this point, has been one of Biden's strongest supporters.

Rep. Pat Ryan also called on Biden to step aside on Wednesday, "for the good of the country" to defeat former Trump, who he called an "existential threat."

He said he has lost confidence Biden can beat Trump, and is calling for an open replacement process.

Ryan was the eighth member of Congress to publicly call on Biden to not seek reelection. He represents NY-18, a seat that is quite vulnerable.

New Jersey Rep. Mikie Sherrill has also called for Biden to drop out.

House Democrats gathered behind closed doors Tuesday to discuss the president's candidacy. The meeting was later described as "rough" and "sobering."

"Are you all on the same page?" a reporter asked.

"No," said Rep. Steve Cohen, (D) TN. "Not even in the same book."

"You know if President Biden declines to leave voluntarily, then we have no choice but to support him as our nominee and make the best of a complicated situation. I mean, that's the concession to the political reality we face," said Rep. Ritchie Torres, (D) NY.

Over the weekend, Congressman Jerry Nadler told his colleagues Biden should drop out. But then, said, "Whether we have concerns or not is beside the point. He is, he's going to be our nominee, and we all have to support him."

"I've had some personal conversations though, wondering who is the best person to carry on that Biden agenda?" said Gov. Ned Lamont, (D) CT, "He's playing defense. You don't win elections by playing defense."

And another Connecticut Democrat, Sen. Richard Blumenthal said after that meeting, that when it comes to the party's messaging to defeat former President Donald Trump, there's unity but there are still questions.

"I am deeply concerned about Joe Biden winning this November because it is an existential threat to the country if Donald Trump wins," Blumenthal said. "So I think that we have to reach a conclusion as soon as possible and I think Joe Biden, as the Democratic nominee, has my support, he has a lot of broad support throughout the country he is working vigorously to try to quell the concerns that have been raised and I think that is his task. Right now he can do it but there will be a question mark for some time."

Blumenthal said "every day is critical" as Biden weighs his path forward.

"I have confidence in Joe Biden doing what's right for America. What he believes is right for America is to defeat Donald Trump and he'll be a pretty good judge of whether that will be possible," Blumenthal said. "We can all advise him we can raise concerns ultimately the decision is his and I am going to continue to raise concerns but I do think we need to ultimately unify because the existential threat here is Donald Trump."

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