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Pelosi urges Biden to make decision on race, despite his insistence he will stay

In an interview Wednesday morning, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) repeatedly urged President Biden to make a decision on whether to remain in the presidential race, despite the president’s insistence that he remain at the top of the Democratic ticket.

“It’s up to the president to decide whether to run. We all encourage him to make that decision, because time is running out,” Pelosi said Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “… He’s loved, he’s respected, and people want him to make that decision.”

Biden has so far been adamant that he should continue to run for re-election, amid growing public concern within the party about his candidacy after his disruptive performance against Donald Trump in the first debate of the contest last month. Biden has insisted he is the best person to beat Trump, who he warned would usher in a radical right-wing agenda if returned to the White House. On Wednesday, Biden has a full slate of events hosting this week’s NATO summit in Washington, where dozens of world leaders will discuss, among other things, how to “Trump-proof” the alliance should the former president be re-elected.

Since the debate, Biden has held campaign rallies, sat for an interview with ABC News, sent a lengthy letter to congressional lawmakers and agreed to hold a news conference Thursday, all in hopes of allaying doubts about his ability to serve a second term. Biden and his team have also met with key party leaders who have expressed strong support for his candidacy — including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (NY), as well as members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

But Pelosi’s comments in her televised appearance on Wednesday suggested that Biden had not yet made a final decision on whether to continue running, and dissent within the party has continued to seep out. Pressed on whether she wanted him to stay in the race, Pelosi said, “I want him to do whatever he decides to do. And that’s — that’s the way it is. Whatever he decides, we’re going with it. “

Pelosi also indicated that she had told Democratic lawmakers to refrain from expressing any views on Biden’s candidacy until after the NATO summit.

“Over 30 heads of state are here. … That means (Biden is) orchestrating the discussion and setting the agenda, and he’s doing a great job,” Pelosi said. “And I’ve told everybody — let’s just hold off on whatever you’re thinking, either tell someone privately, but you don’t have to put it on the table until we see how we go this week. But I am very proud of the president.”

Later Wednesday, Pelosi told a reporter at CBS News that she thought Biden was “good” and that she never said Biden would “reconsider” his decision.

In an email Wednesday, Pelosi spokesman Ian Krager said: “Speaker Pelosi 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.”

Democratic lawmakers remain split on Biden — and certainly haven’t been quiet about their views on the president. So far, about a dozen Democratic lawmakers have called on Biden to drop out of the race in 2024. Rep. Pat Ryan (DN.Y.), a moderate representing a swing district, told the New York Times on Wednesday that he would be “doing a serious disservice” if he said Biden was the best Democratic candidate.

“For the good of our country, for the sake of my two young children, I’m asking Joe Biden to step aside in the upcoming election and keep his promise to be a bridge to a new generation of leaders,” Ryan told the Times.

Late Tuesday, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) told CNN that Trump was on course to win the election “in a landslide and take the Senate and the House with him” if Biden stayed in the race.

“To me, this is not a polling issue; it’s not a political issue. It’s a moral issue about the future of our country,” Bennet said. “It’s extremely important for us to come to terms with what we’re facing , if together we put this country on the path to electing Donald Trump again.”

Asked to respond to Bennett’s comments, Biden campaign spokesman Kevin Munoz said: “No one is more committed to defeating Donald Trump and defending our democracy than Joe Biden, and few know better than Joe Biden the importance of showing up and campaigning to earn the support. of voters. This was always going to be a close race.”

Actor and filmmaker George Clooney, a longtime Biden supporter who has helped raise money for the campaign, including at a major event last month in Los Angeles, posted a guest report in the New York Times on Wednesday calls for a new Democratic candidate.

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

CNN political commentator Kate Bedingfield, who served as Biden’s 2020 campaign and White House communications director, suggested Wednesday that voters want to see data that supports the idea that Biden can win in November.

“I know better than almost anyone how smart the Biden team is about data and ignoring the noise. They’re right that the game here is to convince voters, not pundits,” Bedingfield said signed X. “But when the public information battle is so overwhelmingly negative, it’s a good time to put forward your theory of the case. If they have data that supports the path to victory that they see, they should put it out there now and help people who are hurting want to beat Trump rally around it People want to see the way.”

Liz Goodwin and Maeve Reston contributed to this report.

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