Democrats try to keep Biden drama in the ‘family’ – Washington Examiner

In an article from the Washington Examiner titled “Democrats try to keep ‘family’ drama private with Biden future uncertain,” the author discusses how Congressional Democrats are attempting ⁢to keep internal ‌conflicts regarding President Joe Biden’s political future out of the public eye. ⁣Following Biden’s poor debate performance, lawmakers have been‌ cautious ‌in their criticisms, with‍ some calling for him to step aside while ‍others express ​doubts⁤ about ​his ability to win in November. Despite some ⁤tensions⁢ within the party,⁢ Democrats are trying to‌ present a united‌ front and⁢ avoid public criticism of Biden. The ⁤article highlights the delicate balancing act Democrats are facing as they navigate‌ Biden’s uncertain future and ‌concerns about⁣ his candidacy.




Democrats try to keep ‘family’ drama private with Biden future uncertain

Congressional Democrats are attempting to keep a bitter dispute over President Joe Biden’s political future out of public view following a panic over his disastrous debate almost two weeks ago.

Democratic lawmakers have been eager to downplay the infighting since returning to Washington this week, while those choosing to criticize the president have been measured in their words. Nearly all were tight-lipped on Tuesday following caucus-wide meetings focused squarely on whether Biden should step aside after his halting and at times incoherent debate performance against former President Donald Trump.

The trend was not without exceptions. Two new House Democrats have called on Biden to drop out this week, while Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) revealed Tuesday night that he doubted the president can win in November.

“I just think this race is on a trajectory that is very worrisome,” Bennet told CNN. “Donald Trump is on track, I think, to win this election and maybe win it in a landslide.”

Yet the degree of restraint shown since lawmakers returned from a two-week recess stands in stark contrast to what had until this point been a public airing of grievances over Biden. A raft of operatives and sympathetic editorial boards called on him to make way for a new nominee in the days after the debate, while anonymous lawmakers spoke to the media in apocalyptic terms about their election prospects with Biden as the nominee.

Washington had been bracing for the freakout to balloon as Democrats faced a deluge of questions from the Capitol Hill press corps. But leadership has largely managed to get their ranks in line as they weigh a path forward.

Democrats breezed by reporters on Tuesday, declining to divulge anything from their meetings that might hint at Biden’s fate. In one moment of tension, an exacerbated Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate, refused to say whether any of her colleagues called for the president to step aside at their lunch.

“No, I’m not going to. I’m not going to,” she said. “This was a private family discussion. I’m sorry, guys.”

The guarded posture reflects an emerging consensus that public criticism of Biden could be politically damaging if he remains the nominee. It’s also a welcome sign for the White House, which has attempted to take the wind out of critics’ sails through a combination of outreach and public displays of defiance.

The president is by no means safe, however. Lawmakers will be watching intently to see if Biden fumbles at the NATO summit on Thursday when he holds a rare press conference.

“We have a ways to go,” Sen. Peter Welch (D-VT), a critic of Biden’s handling of the fallout, said upon leaving the Senate lunch.

Tuesday’s meetings allowed Democrats to begin to get on the same page and, importantly, air their frustrations to leadership. In one of the few leaked details, CNN reported that Bennet but also two other senators, Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), predicted Biden’s loss in November.

Leadership, for its part, tried to avoid the appearance of putting a thumb on the scale in support of the president.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the Senate majority whip, told the Washington Examiner he intended to use the session to “listen,” while Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) did not take sides, according to one senator who attended, only speaking to set the terms of the discussion.

The senators who did engage with reporters generally called their meeting “constructive,” though there was no hiding that the question of Biden’s fitness continues to divide Democrats.

“I’m not going to get into the private conversation we just had in the caucus,” said Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), a key Biden ally, “but folks expressed a range of views in ways that I think were constructive and positive.”

For now, that means Democrats find themselves in a strange state of waiting. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) is among the lawmakers declining to say one way or another whether Biden should step aside.

Meanwhile, the criticism that is being delivered has come with a degree of message discipline. The general line from skeptics is they want to see more “vigor” from Biden following the debate, a litmus test that leaves them wiggle room should he remain at the top of the ticket.

“He needs to effectively and aggressively continue making his case to the American people,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said.

Even House leadership has signaled the uncertainty hanging over Biden. Schumer and Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), the top Democrat in the House, refuse to offer anything more than perfunctory statements of support for Biden.

Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA), the chairman of the House Democratic conference, gave an open-ended response Tuesday when asked if Biden is doing enough to ease the concerns of his colleagues.

“My answer is, you know, we’ll see,” he told reporters.

Biden has found important congressional allies, particularly in the House. Leaders of the black and Hispanic caucuses have closed ranks around Biden, dismissing his debate performance as “one bad night” despite broader fears of cognitive decline.

Yet the debate has so unsettled the party that members are conducting a wholesale reevaluation of their campaign strategy as polls show the president and even Vice President Kamala Harris, his most likely replacement, trailing Trump.

“There was a lot of time spent talking about our lack of a compelling economic message,” Coons said of the Senate lunch, calling Bennet and Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) “really forceful on this point.”

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“Some of it turned into a discussion or a debate about whether reproductive freedom, which is what we have focused on before this week, is the most compelling issue in the election, or economic inequality and opportunity,” he added.

Coons went on to describe the conversation as focused on how to “amplify both.”



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