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Vermont’s Peter Welch is first Democratic senator to call on Biden to end re-election bid


Vermont’s Peter Welch is first Democratic senator to call on Biden to end re-election bid

Sen. Peter Welch became the first Democratic member of the upper chamber to call on President Biden to drop his re-election bid Wednesday night, writing that he “cannot unsee” the 81-year-old’s disastrous June 27 debate performance against Donald Trump

“I, like folks across the country, am worried about November’s election,” Welch (D-Vt.) wrote in a Washington Post op-ed. “The stakes could not be higher. We cannot unsee President Biden’s disastrous debate performance. We cannot ignore or dismiss the valid questions raised since that night.”

“I understand why President Biden wants to run,” added Welch, 77. “He saved us from Donald Trump once and wants to do it again. But he needs to reassess whether he is the best candidate to do so. In my view, he is not.

Peter Welch
Sen. Peter Welch called on Biden to end his re-election campaign. AP

“For the good of the country, I’m calling on President Biden to withdraw from the race.”

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer — who has publicly stood behind the president — is privately signaling to Democratic donors that’s he’s open to a Biden replacement, three sources told Axios.

But following the report, Schumer reiterated his support of Biden in a statement to Fox News.

“As I have made clear repeatedly publicly and privately, I support President Biden and remain committed to ensuring Donald Trump is defeated in November,” he said.

Welch joins nine House Democrats who have demanded that Biden drop out of the race: Lloyd Doggett of Texas, Raul Grijalva of Arizona, Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, Mike Quigley of Illinois, Angie Craig of Minnesota, Adam Smith of Washington, Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey, Pat Ryan of New York and Earl Blumenauer of Oregon.

The Vermont senator’s call for Biden to step aside comes one day after three Senate Democrats privately expressed concern during a Democratic caucus lunch that the 81-year-old president stands to lose to Trump. 

Biden is facing a growing number of calls to end his re-election bid. AP

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) confirmed Tuesday that he was one of the three, telling CNN that he believes Trump, 78, will beat Biden “by a landslide” in November.

Bennet, however, stopped short of calling on Biden to end his candidacy. 

Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) – both vulnerable incumbents – were the other two senators who reportedly expressed doubts about Biden’s Election Day chances Tuesday. 

Sen. Richard Blumenthal  (D-Conn.) told reporters Wednesday that while he still supports Biden’s candidacy, he has major concerns about his path to victory. 

What to know about the fallout from President Biden’s debate performance:

“I am deeply concerned about Joe Biden winning this November because it is an existential threat if Donald Trump wins,” Blumenthal said. “I think we need to reach a conclusion as soon as possible. Joe Biden, as the Democratic nominee, has my support.”

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) has also reportedly been rallying fellow Democrats in the upper chamber to ask Biden to drop out of the 2024 race.

Senior Biden advisers, including Mike Donilon, Steve Ricchetti and campaign chair Jen O’Malley Dillon, are planning to address Senate Democrats midday Thursday at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee headquarters in Washington.

Aside from concern over Biden’s electoral prospects, Democrats have expressed fear that having a weak president at the top of the ticket could hurt down-ballot Democratic candidates. 

The Senate is narrowly controlled by Democrats, 51-49, with Tester, Brown and Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nevada) facing competitive races in their states this cycle. 

Welch did not name who he prefers to replace Biden, but he called Vice President Kamala Harris a “capable, proven leader” and touted the Democratic Party’s “deep bench” of governors and senators.

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