Full list of congressional Democrats calling on Biden to leave presidential race (2024)

At least 10 Democratic members of Congress have called for President Joe Biden to withdraw from the presidential race following his devastating debate performance.

On Monday, Biden sent a letter to Democratic lawmakers saying he is “firmly committed to staying in this race” and calling for an “end” to speculation within the party about the future of his candidacy.

Here is a look at the nine congressional Democrats, all members of the House of Representatives, who have said either publicly or privately they’d like to see Biden step aside.

Rep. Adam Smith

On Monday, Washington Rep. Adam Smith, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, urged Biden to "take a step back" from the ticket and called for Vice President Kamala Harris to take his place.

"I think it’s become clear that he’s not the best person to carry the Democratic message," Smith said on CNN, before praising the Democrats' platform and record and acknowledging Biden's role in the country's economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

He went on to call a second Trump presidency a "complete disaster," condenming the far-right Project 2025 agenda,which the ex-president attempted to distance himself from last week, and his economic proposals.

"We've got a good message," Smith continued. "The president has shown he is not capable of delivering that message in an effective way."

As to who should replace Biden? "Personally, I think Kamala Harris would be a much better, stronger candidate," Smith said.

Rep. Angie Craig

The Minnesota congresswoman issued a statement Saturday saying she has “great respect for President Biden’s decades of service to our nation and his steadfast commitment to making our country a better place,” but, “given what I saw and heard from the President during last week’s debate in Atlanta, coupled with the lack of a forceful response from the President himself following that debate, I do not believe that the President can effectively campaign and win against Donald Trump.”

Craig called for “an open, fair, and transparent Democratic process to select a new nominee to inspire and unite our great nation.”

“If we truly believe that Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans must be stopped, there is only a small window left to make sure we have a candidate best equipped to make the case and win,” she said.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett

Last Tuesday, the Texas lawmaker became the first congressional Democrat to urge Biden to drop out the race, citing his performance in the presidential debate and the need to defeat former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee.

“Instead of reassuring voters [during the debate], the President failed to effectively defend his many accomplishments and expose Trump’s many lies,” Doggett said in a statement.

“Our overriding consideration must be who has the best hope of saving our democracy from an authoritarian takeover by a criminal and his gang,” he continued. “Too much is at stake to risk a Trump victory.”

In an interview with Spectrum News after his announcement, Doggett said that he came to the decision to ask Biden to withdraw "reluctantly and sadly" because of his accomplishments as president.

"I've watched the polls and what's happened over the last year," he said. "We've been running behind, hoping that we get some momentum out of this debate. Instead, we got disappointment."

"I watched it with my wife, we were alarmed by his inability to counter the Trump lies and to really defend an admirable effort that the president's made these last few years," he continued, detailing that he discussed his position about wanting to replace Biden as the nominee with colleagues in Congress and his constituents in Texas.

He also said the Supreme Court'sruling in Trump's immunity caseon Monday underscored the importance of defeating the Republican ex-president at the ballot box in November.

"There is so much at risk in having a criminal and his gang take over our government, that I just think we have to have a stronger candidate than President Biden has happened to be," Doggett added.

Rep. Raúl Grijalva

Grijalva, a progressive Democrat from Arizona, was the second member of Congress to call on Biden to step aside, telling The New York Times on Wednesday: “What he needs to do is shoulder the responsibility for keeping that seat — and part of that responsibility is to get out of this race.”

Grijalva said a second Trump presidency would be “very, very dangerous,” describing the former president as an “anti-democratic, authoritarian despot.”

Rep. Jim Himes

The Connecticut lawmaker was one of at least four House Democrats who said during a private call Sunday that Biden should step aside. Himes is the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee.

According to Politico, Himes said he has received several hundred texts and emails about Biden’s age, all from people who wanted the president to leave the race. Himes also reportedly expressed concerns about Democrats losing both chambers of Congress if Biden presses on.

Rep. Seth Moulton

Moulton, of Massachusetts, told radio station WBUR on Thursday that he does not believe Biden can defeat Trump and should bow out.

“President Biden has done enormous service to our country, but now is the time for him to follow in one of our Founding Fathers — George Washington’s — footsteps and step aside to let new leaders rise up and run against Donald Trump,” Moulton said.

On Sunday, Moulton told WCVB-TV: “There are a lot of colleagues who share my concern, but have not gone public. We should be cleaning up and down the ballot, and that's just not the case right now. So, we need to ask, 'What do we need to do differently?’”

Rep. Jerry Nadler

The New York Democrat and ranking member of the Judiciary Committee was on the same call Sunday with Himes.

Nadler, as one of the more senior members on the call, was the first person to say that Biden should step aside, according a person familiar with the call who was granted anonymity to discuss it with The Associated Press. He did so aware of his seniority and that it would allow others to join him.

Rep. Mike Quigley

In an appearance on MSNBC’s “All In With Chris Hayes” on Friday, Quigley, of Illinois, had a direct message for Biden: “Your legacy is set. We owe you the greatest debt of gratitude, the only thing you can do now to cement that for all time and prevent utter catastrophe is to step down and let someone else do this.”

Quigley doubled down on his opinion Monday, saying Biden’s Friday interview with ABC News did nothing to change his mind.

“He looks very frail,” Quigley told CNN. “His voice is very soft. It’s not robust. And again, it is not how I perceive that. It’s how the American people perceive it.”

Rep. Adam Smith

The Washington state Democrat said on Sunday’s call with other top House committee members that he didn’t believe Biden could fix the damage done by his debate performance, Politico reported.

Smith is the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee.

Rep. Mark Takano

The California lawmaker, too, said during Sunday’s private call that Biden should withdraw, a source told the AP. Takano is the ranking member of the the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Many others on the call raised concerns about Biden’s capability and chance of winning reelection, even if they stopped short of saying Biden should step out of the race.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Full list of congressional Democrats calling on Biden to leave presidential race (2024)


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