Pelosi says Democrats want answer soon on Biden’s candidacy

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday congressional Democrats are encouraging President Joe Biden to make a decision soon about whether he’s remaining in the race for the White House, despite that Biden said earlier this week he’s committed to his candidacy.

What You Need To Know Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday congressional Democrats are encouraging President Joe Biden to make a decision soon about whether he’s remaining in the race for the White House, despite that Biden said earlier this week he’s committed to his candidacy

“It’s up to the president to decide if he is going to run,” Pelosi, D-Calif., told MSNBC, adding that “time is running short”

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., confirmed Tuesday he told colleagues in a closed-door meeting that he does not believe Biden can win in November

Democratic Sens. Jon Tester of Montana and Sherrod Brown of Ohio also said in Tuesday’s private meeting they do not believe Biden can beat Trump, Axios reported

While not a lawmaker, actor George Clooney, a high-profile Democratic backer who recently hosted a star-studded Hollywood fundraiser for Biden last month, urged the incumbent to step aside in an opinion piece for The New York Times on Wednesday

“It’s up to the president to decide if he is going to run,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said during an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “We’re all encouraging him to to make that decision because time is running short.”

Pelosi’s comments came nearly two weeks after Biden’s devastating debate performance against former President Donald Trump, in which Biden, 81, struggled to articulate some of his answers.

“I want him to do whatever he decides to do,” said Pelosi, who praised Biden for his NATO speech Tuesday and for legislation he signed as president.

Last week, Pelosi, who continues to serve in Congress, said she thought it was a “legitimate question” to ask whether Biden’s debate performance was an episode or a condition.

In a statement to Spectrum News following her interview on Wednesday, a spokesperson for Pelosi said the California Democrat “fully supports whatever President Biden decides to do.”

“We must turn our attention to why this race is so important: Donald Trump would be a disaster for our country and our democracy,” Pelosi’s spokesperson said.

On Monday, Biden sent a letter to congressional Democrats saying he is “firmly committed to staying in this race” and called for an “end” to talk within the party of him stepping aside.

Seven House Democrats have publicly called for Biden to drop out the race. No Senate Democrats have done so yet, but Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., confirmed Tuesday he told colleagues in a closed-door meeting that he does not believe Biden can win in November.

“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,” Bennet told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins.

Bennet, who stopped short of calling for Biden to withdraw, cited polling showing the incumbent trailing even before the debate and said he’s heard from constituents concerned about the president’s age and mental acuity.

“These are my voters who said to me, ‘I have been through this with my mom. I’ve been through this with my dad. I’m terrified about what it will mean if Donald Trump is elected president again in this country,” Bennet said.

The Colorado lawmaker, who ran against Biden for the Democratic nomination in 2020, said he thinks Biden “has been a really good president” but added, “We have to defeat the malignant figure that is Donald Trump.”

“I believe those of us that are in these elected office have a moral obligation to the people that we represent and the future of our country … to do everything we can to make sure their future is as bright as it could be,” Bennet said. “And if we just sit on our hands, if we say we’re going to disregard what is plainly in front of us and plainly in front of the American people and we end up electing Donald Trump again as president of the United States, that’s going to be a huge tragedy beyond epic proportion.”

Democratic Sens. Jon Tester of Montana and Sherrod Brown of Ohio also said in Tuesday’s private meeting they do not believe Biden can beat Trump, Axios reported. Both are seeking reelection this year in states Trump won in 2020.

Tester issued a statement Monday saying Biden “has got to prove to the American people—including me—that he’s up to the job for another four years.”

Also this week, two top Democrats indicated they have doubts about Biden’s electability.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois told reporters Monday that Biden’s debate performance “raised a lot of questions” about the president.

And Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state, the longest serving Democrat in the chamber, said in a statement that “after talking with my constituents, I believe President Biden must do more to demonstrate he can campaign strong enough to beat Donald Trump.”

Another prominent figure loaned his voice to the chorus of those urging Biden to step aside, though not one belonging to a lawmaker: Actor George Clooney, a high-profile backer of Democrats who hosted a star-studded Hollywood fundraiser for the incumbent last month.

“We are not going to win in November with this president,” Clooney said in an op-ed for The New York Times on Wednesday. “On top of that, we won’t win the House, and we’re going to lose the Senate. This isn’t only my opinion; this is the opinion of every senator and congress member and governor that I’ve spoken with in private. Every single one, irrespective of what he or she is saying publicly.”

He urged the party to pick a new candidate ahead of next month’s Democratic National Convention.

“Let’s hear from Wes Moore and Kamala Harris and Gretchen Whitmer and Gavin Newsom and Andy Beshear and J.B. Pritzker and others,” Clooney wrote. Let’s agree that the candidates not attack one another but, in the short time we have, focus on what will make this country soar. Then we could go into the Democratic convention next month and figure it out.

“Would it be messy? Yes. Democracy is messy. But would it enliven our party and wake up voters who, long before the June debate, had already checked out? It sure would. The short ramp to Election Day would be a benefit for us, not a danger,” Clooney said, later concluding: “Joe Biden is a hero; he saved democracy in 2020. We need him to do it again in 2024.”

Spectrum News’ Cassie Semyon contributed to this report.

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