Joe Biden tells congressional Democrats he will not drop out of election race

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Joe Biden has told Democrats in Congress that he will carry on against Donald Trump in the presidential race, defying calls over the weekend from some members of his party for him to drop out.

Biden wrote in a letter on Monday that more than 14mn voters had chosen him as the Democratic nominee and that “any weakening of resolve or lack of clarity about the task ahead only helps Trump and hurts us”.

“The question of how to move forward has been well-aired for over a week now,” wrote Biden. “And it’s time for it to end.”

Biden’s letter marked a new attempt by the president to quell a mounting revolt against his candidacy after his debate performance reignited deep concerns about his mental acuity.

Biden also called into MSNBC, the television network, on Monday to insist that he was staying in the race. “I’m not letting up,” he said. “The bottom line here is, we’re not going anywhere. I’m not going anywhere.”

Biden also said he was “getting so frustrated by the elites” in the party who were trying to push him out. “Run against me. Go ahead. Announce for president. Challenge me at the convention,” he said.

Biden’s other unscripted performances since the debate against Trump, including an ABC News interview on Friday, have done little to allay the anxiety in his party about his ability to fight a gruelling campaign against his Republican rival.

The president’s letter came as members of Congress returned to Washington after the July 4 holiday, and ahead of what is expected to be a frenzied debate within the Democratic caucus on Capitol Hill about whether to ask Biden to quit the presidential race.

The viability of Biden’s re-election bid will dominate discussions in Washington as Nato leaders arrive in town for a summit to celebrate the alliance’s 75th anniversary. Biden is expected to deliver remarks on Tuesday and hold a press conference on Thursday at the Nato summit, before heading to Michigan for a campaign rally on Friday.

In his letter, the president wrote that he had “no doubt” that the Democrats would beat Trump because of the issues — the economy, abortion and democracy — while refraining from addressing the concerns about giving an 81-year-old man another four-year term.

But on a private call convened Sunday by Democratic House leader Hakeem Jeffries, seven representatives from the party — Jerry Nadler, Adam Smith, Jim Himes, Mark Takano, Don Beyer, Jamie Raskin and Joe Morelle — called for Biden to drop his campaign, according to a Democratic lawmaker.

Himes, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, argued that if Biden remained the presidential nominee, the party would lose the White House, Senate and House, according to a person familiar with the matter. The seven declined or did not respond to requests for comment.

After the details of the private call leaked to the media, Beyer posted on X: “I support the Biden-Harris ticket, and look forward to helping defeat Donald Trump in November.” Raskin told NBC that he “never said that” Biden should leave the race and believes the president can beat Trump.

Other Democrats — particularly Biden’s allies in the Congressional Black Caucus — also came to his defence.

“We’re not going back, we’re moving forward,” posted CBC chair Steven Horsford on X.

Donors, officials and other power brokers have floated other candidates to fight Trump, including Kamala Harris, Gretchen Whitmer and Gavin Newsom, and have made inquiries about how hundreds of millions of dollars raised by Biden’s campaign could be transferred to anyone who replaced him on the ticket.

Additional reporting by Demetri Sevastopulo in Washington

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