Senate Democrats turn on Joe Biden

Some Senate Democrats appear to be turning on President Joe Biden as he faces continuing pressure to pull out of the 2024 presidential race following a lackluster debate performance.

Senator Peter Welch of Vermont became the first Democrat in the Senate to publicly call for Biden to step aside in an op-ed published by The Washington Post on Wednesday, while other Democrats have also raised questions about the president’s ability to win in November.

Senate Democrats will hold a meeting on Thursday with senior Biden campaign officials at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), where they are expected to express their concerns.

Joe Biden at the White House on July 10, 2024, in Washington, D.C. Senate Democrats will meet Biden campaign officials on Thursday, where they are expected to raise concerns.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

“We cannot unsee President Biden’s disastrous debate performance. We cannot ignore or dismiss the valid questions raised since that night,” Welch wrote in his article on Wednesday. “For the good of the country, I’m calling on President Biden to withdraw from the race.”

Newsweek reached out to the Biden campaign via email outside of normal working hours for comment.

While Welch has called for Biden to step aside, Axios reported on Wednesday that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has privately expressed an openness to a Democratic ticket that is not led by Biden.

Schumer has been publicly supportive of Biden, but Axios reported that he has been having conversations with donors and other senators about the matter.

Thursday’s meeting could prove to be crucial.

“Senate Dems will have a special caucus lunch tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. at the DSCC to hear from top Biden advisers Mike Donilon and Steve Ricchetti, as well as campaign chair Jen O’Malley Dillon,” Andrew Desiderio, Punchbowl News’ senior congressional reporter, said on Wednesday in a post on X.

Fox News’ senior congressional correspondent, Chad Pergram, reported on X: “Fox is told that the meeting tomorrow between Biden officials and Senate Democrats is not so much the Biden team making a pitch to Senate Democrats – but a meeting for Senate Democrats to express to the Biden team their reservations about the President.”

The gathering follows a meeting on Tuesday where Senators Jon Tester of Montana, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Michael Bennet of Colorado voiced their concerns that Biden could lose the election.

Some Senate Democrats have publicly expressed their support for the president, including Senator Gary Peters of Michigan, who is chair of the DSCC.

“I believe President Biden can win,” Peters said on Wednesday. “And I believe that we’ll be able to hold the Senate majority.”

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, also expressed his support, saying: “The president can win and I think he will win.”

Senator Bennet warned on Tuesday that Biden could lose the presidential election to former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, in an interview with CNN.

“Donald Trump is on track, I think, to win this election and maybe win it by a landslide and take with him the Senate and the House,” the senator said.

“So for me, this isn’t a question about polling, it’s not a question of politics. It’s a moral question about the future of our country, and I think it’s critically important for us to come to grips with what we face if, together, we put this country on the path of electing Donald Trump again,” Bennet said.

Biden campaign spokesman Kevin Munoz responded to Bennet’s remarks in a statement on Tuesday.

“No one is more committed to defeating Donald Trump and defending our democracy than Joe Biden, and few know better than Joe Biden the importance of showing up and campaigning to earn the support of voters,” the statement said.

“This was always going to be a close race — and the dynamics at play are the ones we’ve long anticipated: voters continue to be deeply concerned by Donald Trump and his harmful agenda, and the more we engage and reach out to voters, the more they support President Biden,” Munoz said.

“There are a lot of days between now and election day, and the hard work of earning every single vote is far from over.”