Democrats in Congress torn between backing Biden for renomination and sounding alarm

U.S. President Joe Biden attends a ceremony, to present the Medal of Honor posthumously to descendants of Union soldiers Pvt. Philip Shadrach and Pvt. George Wilson, members of the 2nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment in the Civil War, at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 3. Reuters-Yonhap

President Joe Biden’s disastrous debate performance is reverberating across the Democratic Party, forcing lawmakers to grapple with a crisis that could upend the presidential election — and their own —and even change the course of American history.

The Democratic president has vowed to stay in the race against Republican Donald Trump despite the halting and uneven debate delivery that threw a spotlight on questions about Biden’s age and capacity to be president. But as Democrats make the case that the stakes of the election are momentous — challenging no less than the foundations of American democracy — they’re wrestling with what to do about the 81-year-old who’s supposed to be leading the charge for their party.

Here’s how Democrats are handling the debate aftermath:

Prominent congressional Democrats have moved in recent days to public concern not just over Biden’s performance during the 90-minute debate last week but also the level of transparency his team has shown about his mental fitness. They’ve tiptoed toward embracing the idea Biden should withdraw.

One Biden ally, Rep. James Clyburn, on CNN Wednesday openly discussed holding a “mini-primary” in the run-up to the Democratic National Convention in mid-August.

After the debate last week, Clyburn had initially urged fellow Democrats to “stay the course” with Biden and “chill out,” but by Wednesday his tone had changed.

“I saw what I saw last Thursday night, and it is concerning,” said Clyburn, who is 83 years old.

In recent days, comments from Clyburn and other senior Democrats including former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have provided signposts 카지노사이트모음 for a political party in crisis. Still, it was not clear whether their concerns were reaching Biden, who told aides on a Democratic National Committee call that “no one is pushing me out.”

Clyburn, a senior South Carolina lawmaker who is a former top party leader in the House, also had a lengthy call with Biden on Wednesday.

Pelosi, in an interview Tuesday on MSNBC, called on both Biden and Trump, who’s 78, to face tests for their health and mental acuity even though she also emphasized that Biden is on “top of his game, in terms of knowing the issues and what is at stake.”

“I think it is a legitimate question to say is this an episode or is this a condition. So when people ask that question, it’s legitimate — of both candidates,” said Pelosi, D-Calif., who’s 84.

Minutes after Pelosi’s comments on Tuesday, Rep. Lloyd Doggett, of Texas, became the first sitting Democrat in Congress to call for Biden to withdraw from the race.

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