Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett Calls On Joe Biden To Drop Out Of Race

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) on Tuesday became the first Democratic member of Congress to call on Joe Biden to give up his run for reelection following his bad performance in last week’s presidential debate.

In a lengthy statement, Doggett praised Biden for his leadership but noted that he’s running behind former President Donald Trump and even Democratic senators in many polls.

“I had hoped that the debate would provide some momentum to change that. It did not,” Doggett said. “Instead of reassuring voters, the President failed to effectively defend his many accomplishments and expose Trump’s many lies.”

Doggett’s statement comes as most elected Democrats say they stand by Biden, though some have seemingly begun to question whether the president should be their nominee. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday said it’s fair to ask if Biden’s up to the task, saying he should do unscripted interviews with reporters to allay concerns about his mental fitness.

During Thursday’s debate, Biden gave meandering answers and occasionally seemed to lose his train of thought. During a question about abortion, for example, Biden talked about a woman being murdered by an immigrant.

Another House Democrat, Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), said on Tuesday that Biden’s bad debate wasn’t just a fluke and that the president’s sagging poll numbers could drag down every Democrat running for reelection.

Doggett said there’s too much at stake to risk putting a “criminal” back in the White House, and he pointed to Biden’s 2020 comment that he would be a “bridge” to a new generation of leaders.

“President Biden saved our democracy by delivering us from Trump in 2020. He must not deliver us to Trump in 2024,” Doggett said.

Doggett also pointed to Monday’s Supreme Court decision, issued in response to Trump’s indictment for trying to steal the 2020 election, awarding the president immunity from prosecution for any “official” acts he undertakes as president. Doggett said a Trump victory could usher in a “long, dark, authoritarian era” for the U.S.

“Recognizing that, unlike Trump, President Biden’s first commitment has always been to our country, not himself, I am hopeful that he will make the painful and difficult decision to withdraw,” Doggett said. “I respectfully call on him to do so.”

Biden ignored a shouted question Tuesday from a reporter about Doggett’s statement.

At a press conference, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre repeated the president’s insistence, from the day after the debate, that he is still up for the job. She said the White House has been transparent by releasing the president’s medical records each year, with doctors saying in the records that he’s healthy enough and competent to be president.

“We understand the concerns. We get it. The president did not have a great night,” Jean-Pierre said on Tuesday. “He knows how to do the job, and he knows how to do the job not because he says it, but because his record proves it.”