Joe Biden defiantly vows to stay in US presidential race

Joe Biden has defiantly vowed to keep running for re-election after rejecting pressure from within the Democratic Party to withdraw after a disastrous debate performance against Donald Trump.

"Let me say this as clearly as I possibly can, as simply and straightforward as I can: I am running," the president said, according to a top aide who posted his comment on X.

"I'm not leaving. I'm in this race to the end, and we're going to win," he added, NBC News reported, citing a campaign official on the call.

Read more: The key moments in the first US presidential election debate

On the call, Mr Biden also called for his party to unify, telling them "when Democrats unite, we will always win, just as we beat Donald Trump in 2020, we're going to beat him again in 2024".

It comes after The New York Times reported the 81-year-old US president had told an ally he was weighing up whether to run against Mr Trump in November's US election.

On Tuesday Mr Biden said he "nearly fell asleep" during last week's first presidential debate, during which commentators widely said he performed poorly.

According to The New York Times, which called for President Biden to step aside after the debate, an anonymous "key ally" of the president said: "He knows if he has two more events like that, we're in a different place" by the weekend.

They emphasised the president is still fighting for re-election but he understands his next few appearances are pivotal.

Another anonymous adviser told the New York Times the president was "well aware of the political challenge he faces".

After the report was published, White House spokesperson Andrew Bates wrote on social media: "This claim is absolutely false."

Mr Biden put his performance down to travel exhaustion after going "around the world a couple of times" shortly before the debate.

The US president admitted he "wasn't very smart" for having travelled extensively in the weeks leading up to the first TV debate of the election campaign in Atlanta.

His performance was such that friends and foes alike have told him to quit the race for the White House.

Mr Biden told supporters at a campaign event in Virginia on Tuesday: "I decided to travel around the world a couple times, going through around 100 time zones."

He added he "didn't listen" to his staff, "came back and nearly fell asleep on stage".

"That's no excuse but it is an explanation," he added while admitting: "I didn't have my best night."