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Politics & Policy

Pelosi says Biden must decide ASAP whether to stay in the race: ‘Time is running short’

A senior member of the California Democratic Party told The Standard Wednesday President Joe Biden should drop out.

An elderly man and woman are engaging in a close, intense conversation amidst a blurred crowd. The woman's hands rest gently on the man's face.
Speaker Emerita stopped short of a full-throated endorsement of Biden’s candidacy. | Source: Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post/Getty Images

President Joe Biden’s insistence that he plans to run for reelection hasn’t quelled concern among Democrats that the sitting president lacks the energy to beat former President Donald Trump in November.

In an interview Wednesday morning, Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi said that “it’s up to the president to decide if he will run” but stopped short of a full-throated endorsement of Biden at the top of the Democratic presidential ticket.

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

Pelosi’s tempered comments about Biden are some of the most consequential since the president’s disastrous debate performance in late June. Pelosi is one of the Democratic Party’s highest-ranking members and has long been an ally of Biden during his presidency and vice presidency during the Obama Administration.

“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,” Pelosi spokesperson Ian Krager told The Standard.

Krager also sent a tweet from a CBS News reporter who interviewed Pelosi after the MSNBC appearance where the speaker emerita said her comments on the show had been subject to “misinterpretations.”

A senior member of the California Democratic Party was more blunt in their assessment of Biden, telling The Standard Wednesday morning that Biden should step out of the race.

“I think we need to have the strongest messenger against Trump,” the source said. “I don’t think that’s Joe Biden.”

When asked whether the state’s Democratic Party would be coming out with a statement against the president’s candidacy, the source said it was unlikely and that its leadership was “waiting” to see how the situation develops.

Rusty Hicks, the chair of the state’s Democratic Party, said in a statement the same night of the president’s debate late last month that he was in support of Biden continuing as the nominee.

A man speaks from a podium with a microphone, while a woman in a blue blazer and pearl necklace stands behind him, clapping. An American flag is in the background.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi politely applauds President Joe Biden during his State of the Union address on March 1, 2022. | Source: Saul Loeb/Getty Images/POOL

Pelosi’s comments come after top donors and others in the Democratic Party this week have expressed concerns publicly about the president’s chances in November, and whether his unpopularity could drag down Democrats running for Congress.

On Wednesday, actor and longtime Democratic Party donor George Clooney penned an opinion article in The New York Times arguing that Biden should step aside. This week, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennett expressed concerns about the president’s chances in the November race but fell short of saying he should drop out, the farthest a sitting senator has criticized the president’s candidacy.

A total of seven House Democrats have called for Biden to end his campaign, including New Jersey’s Rep. Mikie Sherrill, who said on Tuesday it would be in the “best interest of democracy.”

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