First House Dem Breaks Ranks, Demands Biden Step Down

- July 12, 2024
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For some Democrats, President Biden's recent press conference, while managing to exceed some expectations, did little to salvage his reelection campaign. His performance, marred by numerous gaffes, has led to calls for a change in leadership.

Rep. (D-Conn.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, voiced his concerns following Biden's unscripted and often awkward interaction with the press. Himes emphasized the risk of relying on an 81-year-old president prone to off-script mishaps.

“Imagine that three months from now, we get another performance like there was in the debate.

Texas Congressman (D) has broken ranks with the establishment and the Biden family, calling on President to abandon his reelection bid. This announcement comes in the wake of last week's debate, where questions about the president's cognitive abilities reached new heights.

An Unabashed Progressive

Rep. Doggett, a progressive Democrat representing Austin, is known for his strong liberal stances and advocacy for social justice. By becoming the first Democratic lawmaker to call for Biden's withdrawal, Doggett has set a significant precedent within the party. Tuesday's move highlights persistent concerns among Democrats behind closed doors about the increasing risks posed by a Biden candidacy in the upcoming election.

As one of the more experienced and longest-serving House Democrats, Doggett is considered a senior member of the caucus.

Statement Highlights

Doggett's statement was clear and resolute:

  • “Too much is at stake to risk a Trump victory.”
  • “President Biden saved our democracy by delivering us from Trump in 2020. He must not deliver us to Trump in 2024.”

“I represent the heart of a congressional district once represented by Lyndon Johnson. Under very different circumstances, he made the painful decision to withdraw,” Doggett continued. “President Biden should do the same.”

“I am hopeful that he will make the painful and difficult decision to withdraw. I respectfully call on him to do so,” he added.

Although Doggett praised Biden's record, he noted: “While much of his work has been transformational, he pledged to be transitional. He has the opportunity to encourage a new generation of leaders from whom a nominee can be chosen to unite our country through an open, democratic process.”

President Biden has continued to run substantially behind Democratic senators in key states and in most polls has trailed . I had hoped that the debate would provide some momentum to change that. It did not. Instead of reassuring voters, the President failed to effectively defend his many accomplishments and expose Trump's many lies,” Doggett noted [emphasis added].

's Annie Grayer has more, including that other Democrats have hinted at being open to the idea of replacing Biden:

Earlier on Tuesday, Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois had signaled an openness to replace Biden as the party's presidential nominee.

“I think his four years are one of the great presidencies of our lifetime, but I think he has to be honest with himself,” Quigley told Kasie Hunt on CNN “This Morning.” “This is a decision he's going to have to make.”

Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

“We have to be honest with ourselves that it wasn't just a horrible night, but I won't go beyond that out of my respect and understanding of President Joe Biden, a very proud person who has served us extraordinarily well for 50 years,” he added.

Even more Democrats have been expressing their concerns behind the scenes.

One Democratic lawmaker, speaking on the condition of anonymity, was especially blunt.

“There's a large and increasing group of House Democrats concerned about the president's candidacy, representing a broad swath of the caucus. We are deeply concerned about his trajectory and his ability to win. We want to give him space to make a decision [to step aside] but we will be increasingly vocal about our concerns if he doesn't.”

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