2024 election live updates: Biden faces growing calls for him to drop out

Mustafa Hussain/Bloomberg via Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden is facing a critical point in his reelection bid as Democratic calls for him to exit the 2024 race continue to mount despite his efforts to shut them down.

A poor debate performance against Donald Trump reignited questions about Biden’s age and fitness to carry out his campaign and serve another four years. Biden has defiantly insisted he is staying the course, telling lawmakers this week he is not going anywhere.

Trump, who has kept a relatively low-profile as anxious Democrats publicly and privately air concerns, returned to the campaign trail on Tuesday with a rally in Florida.

Here’s how the news is developing:

9:39 PM EDT
White House confirms time Biden will speak to media Thursday

President Joe Biden will take questions from the media on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. ET, his first press conference since the controversy over his candidacy erupted following his debate performance.

Biden has had fewer pressers with the media than his predecessors and the last time he took questions solo was back in November 2023.

The upcoming press briefing is being held at the Washington Convention Center, where Biden will spend a third day at the 2024 NATO Summit.

Jul 10, 2024, 7:35 PM EDT
First senator joins growing calls for Biden to drop out

Sen. Peter Welch of Vermont called for Biden to withdraw from the 2024 race in a Washington Post op-ed published Wednesday evening.

Welch is the first Senate Democrat to officially call for Biden to step aside.

“I understand why President Biden wants to run. 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,” Welch wrote.

“I deliver this assessment with sadness. Vermont loves Joe Biden. President Biden and Vice President Harris received a larger vote percentage here than in any other state. But regular Vermonters are worried that he can’t win this time, and they’re terrified of another Trump presidency,” he said.

Jul 10, 2024, 6:47 PM EDT
Ninth Democrat calls for Biden to withdraw from the race

U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., became the ninth Democrat to call on Biden to end his reelection bid.

Blumenauer, a senior member of the House Ways and Means and Budget committees, commended the president for his accomplishments, claiming in a statement released Wednesday that Biden “will be recorded in history as the most successful president in the last 50 years.”

However, the congressmen added that, in his mind, “We will all be better served if the president steps aside as the Democratic nominee and manages a transition under his terms.”

“The next six months will be critical in the implementation of President Biden’s landmark accomplishments that will define his legacy for generations to come. He should devote his energy and undivided attention to issues of war and peace, the climate crisis, and rebuilding and renewing America,” Blumenauer said, in part.

Jul 10, 2024, 6:39 PM EDT
AFL-CIO calls on Democrats to unite behind Biden

The AFL-CIO for the second time in a week put out a statement in support of President Joe Biden after unanimously voting to reaffirm their support for the Biden-Harris ticket, saying that they are the “most pro-union administration in our lifetimes.”

The union, which endorsed the Biden-Harris campaign in June 2023, urged Democrats to support Biden saying, “The labor movement is united behind President Biden and Vice President Harris. We urge his party and the American people to join us.”

“The message from today’s meeting couldn’t have been clearer: Right now, it’s time to come together around a vision of a country where everyone has a fair shot with a living wage, affordable health care, retirement security, and time to do the things we love like spending time with family and friends and pursuing our interests and passions. These are fundamental to, as the president reiterated to our meeting, building the economy from the bottom up and the middle out, not the top down,” the AFL-CIO Executive Council said in a statement.

Jul 10, 5:46 PM EDT
Newsom says he won’t challenge Harris, reiterates support for Biden

California Gov. Gavin Newsom was again asked about the future of President Biden’s campaign and whether he’d challenge Vice President Kamala Harris if she took the ticket during a news conference on the ongoing wildfires Wednesday.

Newsom stood by comments he made in 2023 when he said he would not run against Harris.

The governor reiterated that he is still backing Biden as the Democratic presidential nominee.

“I think I’ve had 100 media outlets asking the same question, and I think that I’ve amply answered my support for the president and the support I saw on the ground was demonstrable,” he said.

Newsom said he didn’t read the full comments that former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave on MSNBC where she said, “It’s up to the president to decide if he is going to run.”

He also said he had not read George Clooney’s New York Times op-ed that called on Biden to bow out.

Jul 10,4:48 PM EDT
Morale ‘very low’ at White House as staff frustrated by Clooney op-ed: Source

Morale “is very low in the building,” a person who works regularly with senior level White House staff told ABC News Wednesday.

Some in President Joe Biden’s inner circle, including senior adviser Anita Dunn and chief of staff Jeff Zients, are said to be very frustrated and upset by George Clooney’s op-ed in the New York Times in which he calls on Biden to step aside, the source said.

The donor class is also deeply divided, a Democratic adviser told ABC News.

Although small donations continue to pour in and the very largest donors are doubling down, the huge swath of donors in the middle are holding back, according to the adviser. That group of donors, which gives anywhere from five to eight figures, are on pause, which is very damaging since they’re a major part of the donor ecosystem, the adviser said.

This adviser adds that the hand-wringing in the meantime has been very harmful to the campaign.

Another Democratic fundraiser says while a strong performance at the solo press conference Thursday could help the situation, many donors believe the crisis around Biden just won’t go away.

The doubts raised by members of Congress, the comments from Nancy Pelosi, and the op-ed from George Clooney are all fueling a flurry of discussions among donors about what to do if Biden drops out.

-ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Selina Wang

Jul 10, 3:33 PM EDT
Biden to hold one-on-one interview with NBC’s Lester Holt

President Joe Biden will hold a one-on-one interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt Monday, the network announced.

This will mark the second TV interview Biden has held since last month’s presidential debate.

Holt will interview Biden earlier in the day while he’s in Austin, Texas, and the full interview will air at 9 p.m. ET, the network announced.

Jul 10, 3:24 PM EDT
Republican presses top officials on Biden’s mental fitness

In back-to-back House Financial Services Committee hearings with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, both regular, annual hearings on their agency’s policies, Republican Mike Lawler of New York redirected from questions about inflation and tariffs on Russia to ask each official about their personal interactions with the president.

Yellen said she wouldn’t describe the content of her meetings with the president or say when she last met with him because it was “private,” but she called Biden “extremely effective.”

“The president is extremely effective in the meetings that I’ve been in with him, that includes many international meetings that are multi hour, like his meetings with President Xi [Jinping of China],” she said.

“Madam secretary, have there been any discussions among Cabinet secretaries about invoking the 25th Amendment?” Lawler asked.

“No,” Yellen said resolutely. The 25th Amendment states that the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet can together remove power from the president if he or she is incapacitated.

Powell, asked by Lawler if he’s “noticed any mental or cognitive decline” in meetings with the president, said “no.”

But Powell noted that he’d only interacted with the president twice in the last two years — once for a meeting and once to shake his hand at a state dinner, which Powell said was normal for presidents and Federal Reserve chairs, given the independence of the agency.

-ABC News’ Cheyenne Haslett

Jul 10, 3:23 PM EDT
Concern over Biden’s future grows among Democratic senators

Multiple Senate Democrats spoke candidly with ABC News about concerns they have about Biden’s viability and said they want to continue discussions about the best path forward.

Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal said he is worried about “an existential threat to the country if Donald Trump wins,” and added “every day is critical” as Biden weighs his path forward.

“I have confidence in Joe Biden doing what’s right for America. What he believes is right for America is to defeat Donald Trump and he’ll be a pretty good judge of whether that will be possible,” Blumenthal said. “We can all advise him we can raise concerns ultimately the decision is his and I am going to continue to raise concerns but I do think we need to ultimately unify because the existential threat here is Donald Trump.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, associated himself with the comments of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi made on MSNBC Wednesday, in which she appeared to leave the door open for the president to step aside.

“I thought Speaker Pelosi nailed it pretty well this morning,” Whitehouse told ABC News. He repeatedly avoided answering additional questions about whether Biden should resign before reiterating his support for Pelosi’s comments.

Although Sen. Dick Durbin told ABC News Durbin he was “very concerned” about Biden’s chances, he added that he’s always known the race would be close.

“I believe we wage the right campaign and make a point of what we’ve achieved under this president we will see him reelected,” Durbin said.

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, who expressed worries about Biden’s future during a closed-door meeting among Senate Democrats Tuesday, told ABC News he was hearing legitimate concerns from voters.

“My job is to listen to them my job is to go to hearings like this to fight for lower drug prices to fight for Ohio workers,” Brown said.

-ABC News’ Allison Pecorin and Rachel Scott

Jul 10, 2:07 PM EDT
8th House Democrat calls on Biden to step aside

New York Rep. Pat Ryan, a moderate Democrat, is now calling on Biden to step aside as the Democratic nominee.

“Trump is an existential threat to American democracy; it is our duty to put forward the strongest candidate against him,” Ryan wrote on X. “Joe Biden is a patriot but is no longer the best candidate to defeat Trump. For the good of our country, I am asking Joe Biden to step aside — to deliver on his promise to be a bridge to a new generation of leaders.”

Ryan is the eighth House Democrat to publicly call on Biden to step aside.

-ABC News’ Lauren Peller

Jul 10, 2:03 PM EDT
Biden gives a fist pump when asked about Pelosi’s comments

Despite her remarks, Biden suggested he still has Pelosi’s support to continue his reelection campaign.

“Is Nancy Pelosi still behind you?” Biden was asked after taking a family photo with NATO leaders.

The president didn’t say anything, but flexed his arm and fist in the air.

-ABC News’ Justin Gomez

Jul 10, 1:58 PM EDT 
Debate over future of Biden’s candidacy continues

After a day of closed-door Democratic meetings where lawmakers appeared to be absorbing the sober reality that Biden would stay as the party’s presumptive nominee, new comments on Wednesday stirred fresh debate on Biden’s viability and path forward.

First, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was noncommittal on whether she wanted Biden to continue to run despite Biden insisting repeatedly that he had decided to stay in the race.

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

Then, George Clooney, in a stinging New York Times op-ed, said Biden should step aside.

“It’s devastating to say it, but the Joe Biden I was with three weeks ago at the fund-raiser was not the Joe ‘big F-ing deal’ Biden of 2010,” Clooney wrote. “He wasn’t even the Joe Biden of 2020. He was the same man we all witnessed at the debate.”

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