Pelosi on Biden: ‘it’s up to the president’ to stay in race, but ‘time running short’

Asia World

Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday “it’s up to the president to decide” if he should stay in the race despite US President Joe Biden’s insistence he is still running, showing how unsettled the question remains among prominent Democrats and Capitol Hill.

“We’re all encouraging him to make that decision because time is running short,” Pelosi said Wednesday on MSNBC.

Pelosi has been widely watched for signals of how top Democrats are thinking about Biden’s imperilled candidacy, and her comments will be viewed as important for the party’s direction as they weigh possible alternatives in the campaign against Republican Donald Trump.

Because of her powerful position as the former House speaker and proximity to Biden as a trusted long-time ally of his generation, Pelosi is seen as one of the few Democratic leaders who could have influence on the president’s thinking.

Pressed on whether she personally wants Biden to stay on the top of the ticket as he has defiantly insisted he is staying in the race, Pelosi said, “I want him to do whatever he decides to do,” adding that “Whatever he decides, we go with.”

The lack of a full endorsement from Pelosi for Biden’s continued campaign is what lawmakers are likely to hear most, suggesting that despite the president’s insistence he is not stepping aside, his party still has questions.

Pelosi said Biden “has been a great president” who is beloved and respected by House Democrats.

The Californian said she watched as he delivered a forceful speech at the Nato summit on Tuesday, and while foreign leaders are in Washington this week, she encouraged Democrats to “just hold off” with any announcements about his campaign.

“Whatever you’re thinking, either tell somebody privately, but you don’t have to put that out on the table until we see,” she said, how it goes “this week.”

Democrats have been reeling over whether to continue backing Biden after his poor showing in the presidential debate with Trump last month and his campaign’s lacklustre response to their pleas that Biden show voters he is up for another four-year term.

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Seven House Democrats have openly called on Biden to not seek re-election. A handful of senators have also expressed concerns.

Late on Tuesday, Colorado’s Michael Bennett became the first Senate Democrat to publicly turn on the president, saying Biden would lose if he stayed on the ballot – and perhaps cause congressional Democrats to lose as well.

“Donald Trump is on track, I think, to win this election, and maybe win it by a landslide and take with it the Senate and the House,” Bennett told CNN, adding he believes the White House “has done nothing” to demonstrate they have a plan to win in November.