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These Are The Biggest Names Calling On Biden To Drop Reelection Campaign


These Are The Biggest Names Calling On Biden To Drop Reelection Campaign


A chorus of prominent pundits and columnists who are self-described admirers of President Joe Biden—and staunchly anti-Trump—have called on him to step aside in the race after what was widely viewed as a disastrous debate performance, though elected Democratic officials have so far publicly stood by Biden.

Key Facts

The New York Times Editorial Board: “To serve his country, President Biden should leave the race” the left-leaning panel declared in a headline the day after the debate, calling Biden “ an admirable president” who is “engaged in a reckless gamble,” and urging Democrats to speak up and replace him, or risk handing the election to Trump.

The Chicago Tribune Editorial Board: Writing it had seen “enough” after the debate, the editorial board blasted both former President Donald Trump and Biden as “two gnarly old men” and “clowns,” and wrote that Biden “should announce he will be a single-term president who now has seen the light when it comes to his own capabilities.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Editorial Board: Biden should step aside “to defeat Trump and for the good of the nation,” the board wrote Saturday, dismissing defenses from Biden’s campaign and his allies that he had a cold or that his poor performance was an anomaly, writing “this wasn’t a bad night; it was confirmation of the worst fears of some of Biden’s most ardent supporters . . . age has finally caught up to him.”

Thomas Friedman: Acknowledging his friendship with Biden and describing how he wept while watching what he called a “heartbreaking” debate, the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist wrote that Biden “has no business running for re-election” and the Democratic Party should conduct a new “open process in search of a Democratic presidential nominee.”

Nicholas Kristof: In a column published just hours after the debate ended, fellow New York Times columnist Kristof wrote that Biden’s debate performance “reinforced the narrative” he is too old to serve as president, and urged the president to announce his retirement before the convention, giving his delegates the chance to select another Democratic nominee, such as Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown or Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.

Paul Krugman: “The best president of my life needs to withdraw,” was the headline on a third New York Times columnist’s plea, with Krugman acknowledging “maybe some Biden loyalists will consider this a betrayal, given how much I have supported his policies, but I fear that we need to recognize reality.”

David Remnick: The editor of the New Yorker wrote that Biden appeared to “wander into senselessness onstage,” and that remaining on the ticket “would be an act not only of self-delusion but of national endangerment.”

David Ignatius: Reiterating a view he expressed in a September column that Biden should not run, The Washington Post foreign affairs columnist wrote in a post-debate piece that Biden has been insulated by his close circle of aides and confidants, including his wife, Jill Biden, who have dismissed calls that he should step aside and “have been protective—to a fault.”

Mark Leibovich: The Atlantic staff writer and former New York Times Magazine national correspondent headlined his Friday column “Time To Go, Joe,” calling the debate a “disaster” and writing that Biden “looked old, sounded old, and yes, is in fact very, very old.”

Joe Scarborough: Declaring that he “love[s]” Biden, the host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” (a program Biden reportedly follows closely) gently suggested on Friday’s episode the president should bow out of the race, asking the rhetorical question “if he were CEO, and he turned in a performance like that, would any corporation in America keep him on?”

Chandler West: Former White House director of photography from January 2021 through May 2022, West wrote on Instagram that “it’s time for Joe to go,” Axios reported, citing screenshots of West’s story in which he said White House operatives have said privately for months that Biden is “not as strong as he was just a couple of years ago,” and a subsequent text message from West to Axios predicting that the debate is “not gonna be the last” bad day for Biden.

James Carville: Biden “shouldn’t be” the nominee, the longtime Democratic political consultant told Politico, after saying the Biden campaign used his name in a post-debate fundraising text without his permission, and also told Axios he thinks Biden will end his campaign before Election Day, paraphrasing a quote by economist Herb Stein, “that which can’t continue . . . won’t.”

Andrew Yang: Biden’s former 2020 opponent for the Democratic nomination wrote in his blog Saturday that he was “wrong” for having confidence Biden’s team could prepare him for Thursday’s debate, describing Biden as “old and shuffling” when he saw him in February, while writing that Biden is “running an unwinnable race” and “doing wrong by the country” for continuing his candidacy.

Cenk Uygur: Less than 30 minutes into the debate, the host and founder of left-wing political podcast, The Young Turks, who also briefly ran for the Democratic nomination this year, tweeted that the show would “start talking about who should replace Biden. Because at this point it’s obvious that it definitely MUST happen.”


Biden, appearing far more energetic than he did the previous night, defended himself in a speech from Raleigh, North Carolina, on Friday, where he acknowledged to the crowd “I don’t walk as easy as I used to, I don’t speak as smoothly as I used to, I don’t debate as well as I used to.” Drawing a contrast with Trump, Biden said “I know what I do know, I know how to tell the truth!” Biden told reporters immediately after the debate that he had a sore throat, an apparent excuse for his hoarse, and sometimes inaudible, voice. So far, no elected Democrats (aside from Biden’s longshot primary challenger, Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn.) have called on Biden to step aside in the race, and many have publicly defended him after Thursday’s performance, with Vice President Kamala Harris telling a crowd in Las Vegas on Friday “we believe in our President Joe Biden” and “this race will not be decided by one night in June.” Former President Barack Obama also tweeted Friday “bad debate nights happen. Trust me, I know.”

Key Background

Thursday’s debate was considered the most important night of the 2024 campaign cycle—and an opportunity for Biden to reassure voters concerned that he is too old to run for president. Biden was widely viewed to have done the opposite, losing his train of thought within minutes of the debate beginning, speaking so softly at times it was hard to understand what he was saying, giving disjointed answers and often standing with a blank stare on his face, his mouth agape, while Trump was speaking. Abysmal reviews, even from some of Trump’s fiercest critics, instantly poured in on social media, and by the end of the debate, Democrats were reportedly privately discussing the possibility of replacing him on the ticket, multiple outlets reported.


There is no formal mechanism for replacing Biden as the nominee if he doesn’t step aside voluntarily. He has won nearly 3,900 of the 4,000 available delegates in the primaries who are beholden (but not legally required) to vote to formally nominate Biden at the Democratic convention in August. In an unprecedented and highly unlikely scenario, the delegates could spurn Biden and vote to select another nominee. Or Biden could withdraw from the race before the convention, giving his delegates the opportunity to cast their votes for another candidate. If he were to withdraw after the August convention, party rules state that the Democratic National Committee’s approximately 500 members could convene a special meeting to select a new nominee by majority vote. Harris would be the most obvious choice for a replacement, but Whitmer and California Gov. Gavin Newsom are other names commonly floated by pundits and the press. Both have defended him publicly in the wake of Thursday’s debate.

Further Reading

Can Democrats Replace Biden? Here’s What Would Happen If Biden Leaves 2024 Race. (Forbes)

Biden Says ‘I Don’t Debate As Well As I Used To’ In Fiery Speech After Rocky Thursday Face-Off With Trump (Forbes)

These Are The Likely Democratic Presidential Candidates If Biden Drops Out—As Rough Debate Prompts Calls To Stand Down (Forbes)

Biden’s Debate Performance Torched—Even By Trump Foes—Over Weak Voice And Verbal Stumbles: ‘Hard To Watch’ (Forbes)

Biden Loses Train Of Thought And Corrects Himself Repeatedly In Debate With Trump (Forbes)

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