Biden, Harris join campaign call to stress staying on ticket

A chronicle of Donald Trump's Crimes or Allegations

Biden, Harris join campaign call to stress staying on ticket

President Biden and Vice President Harris joined a call with their reelection campaign staff on Wednesday, during which the president stressed that he will stay on the top of the ticket amid panic within the party over whether he should step aside.

“I’m in this race to the end and we’re going to win because when Democrats unite, we will always win. Just as we beat Donald Trump in 2020, we’re going to beat him again in 2024,” Biden said on the call, a source familiar with the discussion told The Hill.

Biden “unequivocally” told the team that he is running for reelection and plans to beat former President Trump, the source noted.

“We will not back down. We will follow our president’s lead. We will fight, and we will win,” Harris said on the call.

Additionally, the president said the stakes are too high for the campaign to back down at this point, and he praised the team and Harris for their support.

“There is no one I’d rather be in this battle with than all of you. So let’s link arms. Let’s get this done. You, me, the vice president. Together,” he said

The Biden campaign is grappling with the aftermath of the president’s dismal debate performance Thursday, which has led to calls from some Democrats for him to step aside. Biden has sought to reassure Democrats amid increasing pressure for him to drop out.

Biden spoke Wednesday with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.) along with top Democrats Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.), Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Sen. Chris Coons (Del.), press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters. He is set to speak with more than 20 Democratic governors later in the day.

Earlier Wednesday, campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez and campaign Chair Jen  O’Malley Dillon sent a memo to the staff about the upcoming call, saying it would “help everyone understand the full picture on the president’s support.”

It then outlined that they are expecting “lots of chatter and analysis” around polls coming out on Wednesday but that its “internal battleground toplines from last night show a steady race.” The memo estimated that Biden is behind former President Trump by 1 point and within the margin of error. 

The memo also noted that a new poll that was expected by The New York Times and Sienna College “is likely to show a slightly larger swing in the race,” asking staff to keep in mind that The New York Times is “often a polling outlier.”

The Times/Sienna College poll has since been released, showing that Trump had a wider lead over Biden: 49 percent support to 43 percent.

The New York Times also reported that a key Biden ally said the president “knows he may not be able to salvage his candidacy if he cannot convince the public in the coming days that he is up for the job.” The ally said the president understands that his next few appearances, which will involve an interview with ABC and campaign stops in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, are essential.

The campaign, as well as the White House, pushed back on the report and said it was false.

“The president is in this race to win it. He is the Democratic nominee,” Biden deputy principal campaign manager Quentin Fulks said on CNN.

When asked if Biden had any plans to drop out of the race, Jean-Pierre told reporters at the White House: “Absolutely not.”