Live updates: Biden 'staying in the race' - White House hits back at speculation (2024)

Table of Contents
Summary Live Reporting Recap: Biden team looks to quell concernspublished at 00:13 4 July00:13 4 July Newspaper urges Biden to exit race for 'good of the country'published at 00:10 4 July00:10 4 July Biden public events closely watchedpublished at 00:06 4 July00:06 4 July Democrat voters worry about Biden candidacypublished at 23:48 3 July23:48 3 July Harris camp: 'She's changing nothing'published at 23:32 3 July23:32 3 July Will the negative polls matter to President Biden?published at 23:17 3 July23:17 3 July What does the latest polling show?published at 23:09 3 July23:09 3 July Biden blamed poor performance on jet lagpublished at 22:58 3 July22:58 3 July What about Trump?published at 22:47 3 July22:47 3 July Biden talks with top congressional Democratspublished at 22:23 3 July22:23 3 July Biden declines to answer questions after White House ceremonypublished at 22:01 3 July22:01 3 July Biden to meet with Democratic governorspublished at 21:58 3 July21:58 3 July Second congressional Democrat calls for Biden to step asidepublished at 21:53 3 July21:53 3 July Biden speaks at White House ceremonypublished at 21:43 3 July21:43 3 July Some big Democratic donors question Biden candidacypublished at 21:22 3 July21:22 3 July White House chief of staff offers pep talkpublished at 21:14 3 July21:14 3 July 'I am running': Biden to campaign staffpublished at 21:08 3 July21:08 3 July Biden or Harris - those are only options, DNC member sayspublished at 20:37 3 July20:37 3 July Biden campaign on the defensivepublished at 20:08 3 July20:08 3 July White House says Biden 'as sharp as ever'published at 19:52 3 July19:52 3 July

Summary

  • White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters US President Joe Biden "is clear-eyed and he is staying in the race," though she admitted "the last few days have been challenging" amid fallout from his debate performance

  • Biden is meeting Vice-President Kamala Harris and other key allies, including lawmakers and a group of Democratic governors, as he faces mounting questions over whether he should continue his re-election bid

  • His campaign has pushed back against a New York Times report which said Biden had told a close ally his re-election effort was in danger, with a White House spokesperson calling it "absolutely false"

  • Biden, 81, performed poorly in a debate with his Republican rival Donald Trump, 78, last week, and pressure has intensified in the days since with damaging polling fuelling Democratic concerns about his candidacy

  • A new poll by CBS News on Wednesday found the election race had shifted in Trump's favour following the debate, including in crucial battleground states

  • Biden has for days insisted he will keep fighting until November's vote, saying he believes with his "heart and soul" that he could serve another term in office

Live Reporting

Edited by Caitlin Wilson

  1. Recap: Biden team looks to quell concernspublished at 00:13 4 July

    00:13 4 July

    We are wrapping up our live coverage after a flurry of news today following calls for President Joe Biden to withdraw from his re-election bid after last week's debate debacle.

    White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Biden "is clear-eyed and he is staying in the race," though she admitted "the last few days have been challenging".

    Biden joined a campaign call on Wednesday to assure staff: "I'm in this race to the end and we're going to win," he said as reported by BBC's US partner CBS News. Read more about the Biden campaign's efforts to calm Democrats' nerves here.

    And the BBC spoke to Democratic voters who worried about the logistics of switching candidates this far into the campaign. Read more here.

    Caitlin Wilson, Brandon Livesay, Gareth Evans and Jessica Murphy have been our editors.

    Ana fa*guy, Kayla Epstein, Rachel Looker, Brajesh Upadhyay and Courtney Subramanian have been our writers.

    Thanks for joining us.

  2. Newspaper urges Biden to exit race for 'good of the country'published at 00:10 4 July

    00:10 4 July

    Brajesh Upadhyay
    BBC News, Washington

    Live updates: Biden 'staying in the race' - White House hits back at speculation (1)Image source, AFP via Getty Images

    President Biden is facing growing calls from newspapers and editorial boards across the country to step aside following a poor debate perfomance against Donald Trump last week.

    The latest to join the flurry of news outlets is the Boston Globe editorial board urging the president to drop out for "the good of the country".

    “The nation’s confidence has been shaken,” the board wrote. "A bevy of potential candidates — from Vice President Kamala Harris to the governors of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and California, to name only a partial list — are waiting in the wings to take on Trump."

    This comes as the president reiterated on Wednesday that he was staying in the race.

    "I am running. I’m the nominee of the Democratic Party. No one's pushing me out. I'm not leaving," he reportedly told an all-staff campaign call.

    Earlier, the New York Times editorial board went on to call Biden's candidacy a "reckless gamble" and that he should leave the race to "serve his country".

    "Democrats who have deferred to Mr Biden must now find the courage to speak plain truths to the party’s leader," the newspaper wrote.

    Maureen Dowd, a columnist for the newspaper, accused the president of "putting himself ahead of the country".

    Calling the president's debate performance "pitiable", The Economist wrote Biden was "fooling only himself".

    "A president who prides himself on the common touch is insulting everyone’s common sense," it said.

    The editorial boards for the Chicago Tribune and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's have also called on Biden to drop out.

  3. Biden public events closely watchedpublished at 00:06 4 July

    00:06 4 July

    Joe Biden is under pressure to prove he has the energy and mental acuity to run for re-election - and is under scrutiny to show he's fit for office.

    He has a number of public events over the next couple of days that will be closely watched by Democrats.

    On Thursday - Independence Day in the US - the Bidens will celebrate at the White House and will host military families there.

    On Friday, he returns to the campaign trail with a stop in Madison, Wisconsin.

    He also has an interview with George Stephanopoulos for ABC News - the first major interview he's given since his shaky debate performance last week.

    The following week, he will be hosting world leaders at a Nato summit in Washington DC.

  4. Democrat voters worry about Biden candidacypublished at 23:48 3 July

    23:48 3 July

    Ana fa*guy
    Reporting from Washington D.C.

    Live updates: Biden 'staying in the race' - White House hits back at speculation (2)

    It's not just operatives and analysts who are nervous about Biden's place atop the ticket. Democratic voters who spoke to the BBC are nervous too.

    In fact, most voters think Democrats have a better chance of keeping the White House if Biden isn’t the nominee, a CNN poll found this week, external.

    Silvia Holt, a 45-year-old Democrat from Oregon, is one of them.

    "I want someone new," she told the BBC. "I wish he would step down. I wish he would recognize as president, you're the president of the people. Listen to the people, listen to us."

    Isaiah Reeves, a 28-year-old Democrat from Tennessee, wants to see Biden replaced but isn't sure logistically how that would happen.

    "I would like to see Pritzker on the ticket," he told the BBC.

    Jessica Altobelli, a 33-year-old Democrat from Pennsylvania, feels bad about wanting to replace Biden but said she'd be excited to vote for Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer or California Governor Gavin Newsom.

    "I don't even know a ton about Gavin Newsom, but from what I do know, I think there would be a level of excitement just knowing we have somebody other than Joe Biden who is qualified and capable and dynamic and decades younger," she told the BBC.

    Read more about what Democratic voters think Biden should do, here.

  5. Harris camp: 'She's changing nothing'published at 23:32 3 July

    23:32 3 July

    Courtney Subramanian
    Reporting from Washington DC

    Live updates: Biden 'staying in the race' - White House hits back at speculation (3)Image source, EPA

    In the minutes after last week's debate, Vice-President Kamala Harrisdelivered a full-throated defence of President Biden, acknowledging that he hada "slow start" but insisting that his presidency wouldn't be definedby the last 90 minutes.

    She projected calm while other Democrats panicked. That's the toneshe's taken in the days since, appearing at fundraisers, delivering remarks andquelling mounting concerns among donors and supporters over whether Biden is upto the task.

    "She's changing nothing," a source close to Harris said,adding that the vice-president would continue to hit the road on behalf of thecampaign.

    Harris aides have been told to remain resolute - as the vice-presidenthas - and point to her fierce loyalty to the president as evidence that she hasno plans to entertain calls for him to step aside.

    "What else can we do?" the source added. "She's beenmaking the case and will continue to do so. She just now needs to make astronger case."

    Harris joined Biden on a campaign call to reaffirm that he was"in this race to the end," according to a person familiar with thecall who spoke on condition of anonymity."We will follow our president's lead. We will fight, and we willwin," Harris told campaign staffers, the person said.

    But the crisis enveloping the White House has left Harris in adelicate position as some within the party have entertained replacing thepresident with the vice-president. She has to appear in lockstep with thepresident, with every word and movement scrutinised over whether she looking toreplace her boss.

    The shift in support for her candidacy has also caused a bit ofschadenfreude within the Harris camp, according to the source close to thevice-president. After years of doubting her leadership capabilities, somewithin the party have suddenly found she's the answer to the president's crisisof confidence.

    "It's maddening," the Harris source said.

  6. Will the negative polls matter to President Biden?published at 23:17 3 July

    23:17 3 July

    Nomia Iqbal
    BBC News, Washington

    Live updates: Biden 'staying in the race' - White House hits back at speculation (4)Image source, EPA-EFE

    New results post-debate suggest Donald Trump is edging Biden out - especially in battleground states.

    But Biden is deeply cynical about polling being destiny.

    He was generally underwater leading up to the 2022 mid-terms, but Democrats performed better than expected and held onto the Senate.

    After a bad poll a couple of months ago, he said to CNN: "The polling data has been wrong all along. How many folks you have to call to get one response?"

    His team also think much of Trump's candidacy is so unpredictable and has the potential to change projections - particularly his legal battles.

    Biden got a poll bump after Trump's criminal conviction in New York, for example.

    It's not just the polls - Biden and his team also feel underrated by the DC political circuit.

    What they believe matters is this: "Scranton Joe" came from behind in the 2020 Democratic primary and went on to beat Trump later that year.

    And that come November, the voters will once again decide to stick with him and keep him in the White House.

  7. What does the latest polling show?published at 23:09 3 July

    23:09 3 July

    After Biden's debate debacle, polls are trending in former President Donald Trump's favour. Here's what the latest show:

    • A New York Times-Siena College poll , externalfrom today suggests Trump has a six-point lead over Biden among likely voters. Trump increased his lead over Biden by three points since the debate. It also marks Trump's largest lead that the Times and Siena College have reported since 2015.
    • A Wall Street Journal poll , externaltoday also indicates that Trump has a six-point lead over Biden among voters nationally. The former president leads Biden in a two-candidate matchup 48% to 42%. It compares to Trump's two-point lead in February. According to the poll, 80% said Biden is too old to run for a second term.
    • A CBS News poll today suggests Trump has a three-point edge in battleground states and a two-point edge nationally. Over 90% of Biden and Trump supporters reported they would not consider another candidate, according to the poll. Biden led Trump by one percentage point in a CBS poll from last month.
  8. Biden blamed poor performance on jet lagpublished at 22:58 3 July

    22:58 3 July

    Kayla Epstein
    Senior journalist

    Joe Biden has acknowledged his debate performance Thursday was not hisbest showing, blaming his stilted and sometimes awkward or confused-seemingdemeanour on jet lag.

    He told reporters that he "wasn't very smart" for"travelling around the world a couple of times" before the debate.

    "I didn’t listen to my staff... and then I nearly fell asleep onstage,” he said.

    Biden, last returned from travel on 15 June, nearly two weeks ahead ofthe 27 June debate.

    Ahead of the match-up, Biden had spent six days at presidential retreatCamp David preparing.

    "It’s not an excuse but an explanation,” he said at a privatefundraiser in Virginia on Tuesday evening, referring to his travel.

    He also apologised for his performance and said it was"critical" that he win re-election, according to ABC News.

    Biden made two separate trips to Europe within two weeks last month.

    White House officials have previously said he was battling a cold on theday of the debate.

    The president did not mention any illness in his remarks on Tuesday. Aspokeswoman for the White House said earlier in the day that he was not takingany cold medication during the debate.

  9. What about Trump?published at 22:47 3 July

    22:47 3 July

    Ana fa*guy
    Reporting from Washington DC

    Live updates: Biden 'staying in the race' - White House hits back at speculation (5)Image source, Getty Images

    While Democrats are publicly disagreeing on the best direction to move forward for their campaign, former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, has been mostly quiet in recent days.

    The silence is especially notable for the former reality TV star. This is the kind of political moment Trump frequently capitalizes on by taking to Truth Social to blast political opponents and their missteps.

    Remaining in the background in this moment - while the Democrats organise their message - might turn out to be a smart political move for the 78-year-old Republican as voters' attention stays on the Democrats.

    Trump's campaign, however, is fundraising off of Biden's troubles, saying the president's team "continues to invent excuses".

    "He essentially admitted that he is not up for the job," a Trump campaign email read on Wednesday.

    "Notonly have they lost all credibility, they have disqualified themselves fromoffice. Joe Biden is unfit, and by aiding in the coverup, they have put ournational security at risk and made our country weaker."

    In a possible sign that Republicans are widening their political attacks beyond the president, the National Republican Congressional Committee on Wednesday released an ad hitting out at Vice-President Kamala Harris.

    Her name has been among those floated as a potential Democratic candidate if Biden is persuaded to step aside.

    "This November: Vote Republican. Stop Kamala," the ad tells viewers.

  10. Biden talks with top congressional Democratspublished at 22:23 3 July

    22:23 3 July

    During the White House briefing earlier, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Joe Biden has made phone calls to top congressional Democrats in recent days, including House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries; Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer; South Carolina Democratic Representative James Clyburn; former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Delaware Senator Chris Coons who serves as a Biden campaign co-chair.

    Jean-Pierre described the conversations - which took place on Tuesday and Wednesday - as "strong".

    Some of these Democrats have had mixed responses to Biden's poor debate performance last week.

    Pelosi said Tuesday on MSNBC that it was fair to question both Biden and former President Donald Trump, saying "It's a legitimate question to say, 'Is this an episode or is this a condition?'"

    Jeffries also went on MSNBC, where he called Biden's debate performance "underwhelming". But the House minority leader has said he will continue to support the president.

    And Clyburn, a close Biden ally, said he'd back Vice President Kamala Harris if Biden withdraws from the race.

    According to the BBC's US partner CBS, the president and Clyburn spoke Wednesday, with a staffer for the representative calling the conversation "positive".

    The lawmaker told the president "he is with him", CBS reported.

  11. Biden declines to answer questions after White House ceremonypublished at 22:01 3 July

    22:01 3 July

    Live updates: Biden 'staying in the race' - White House hits back at speculation (6)Image source, Reuters

    Biden has finished speaking at the Medal of Honor ceremony at the White House.

    He presented the military awards to the descendants of two Union soldiers who fought in the US Civil War in the 1860s.

    He did not reply to any questions from reporters in attendance.

  12. Biden to meet with Democratic governorspublished at 21:58 3 July

    21:58 3 July

    As some members of his party express concern over his suitability to be their presidential candidate, Biden will be meet privately this evening with several Democratic governors at the White House - some attending in person while others will make virtual appearances.

    Governors including Kathy Hochul of New York, J. B. Pritzker of Illinois, Gavin Newsom of California, Andy Beshear of Kentucky and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan will be at the White House in person, according to BBC's news partner CBS.

    Govs. Phil Murphy of New Jersey, Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania and Jay Inslee of Washington will attend virtually.

    Biden will address at least 16 governors during the meeting, CBS reported.

  13. Second congressional Democrat calls for Biden to step asidepublished at 21:53 3 July

    21:53 3 July

    Caitlin Wilson
    US reporter

    While there has been much reporting about concern in the Democratic Party since the debate last week, few elected lawmakers have publicly called for President Biden to step aside.

    Congressman Lloyd Doggett from Texas became the first sitting Democratic lawmaker to openly call for him to do so. "I am hopeful that he will make the painful and difficult decision to withdraw," Doggett, 77, said in a statement.

    Now a second Democrat in Congress, Representative Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, has done so. "If he’s the candidate, I’m going to support him, but I think that this is an opportunity to look elsewhere," he told the New York Times.

    "What he needs to do is shoulder the responsibility for keeping that seat - and part of that responsibility is to get out of this race," Grijalva, who represents a district along the border with Mexico, told the newspaper.

    Doggett, 77, said the debate had solidified his decision to urge Biden tostep aside.

    "Instead of reassuring voters, the President failed to effectivelydefend his many accomplishments and expose Trump's many lies," said theDemocrat who has represented Austin since 1995 and is running for re-election.

    "My decision to make these strong reservations public is not donelightly nor does it in any way diminish my respect for all that President Bidenhas achieved," Doggett added.

  14. Biden speaks at White House ceremonypublished at 21:43 3 July

    21:43 3 July

    Amid fallout from his performance at Thursday night's debate, Joe Biden is delivering remarks at the White House on Wednesday, bestowing Medal of Honor awards posthumously to two Union soldiers who fought in the US Civil War in the 1860s.

    You can follow along by clicking the "Watch live" button at the top of this page.

  15. Some big Democratic donors question Biden candidacypublished at 21:22 3 July

    21:22 3 July

    Brajesh Upadhyay
    Reporting from Washington DC

    Strong reassurances from the White House don't seem to have quelled anxieties among many well-heeled Democratic donors, whose support is vital to President Joe Biden's re-election bid.

    Some say they are still undecided on backing him, and a few others are calling for him to stand down.

    Ramesh Kapur, a Massachusetts-based Indian-American industrialist, has organised fundraisers for Democrats since 1988.

    “I think it’s time for him to pass the torch,” Kapur told the BBC. “I know he has the drive, but you can’t fight Mother Nature.”

    “What I know of him, he will decide what’s good for the country,” he added.

    There are some who are worried there's not enough time left for a new candidate to join the race, and they have decided to back Biden if he stays on.

    A mega-donor the BBC spoke to, who declined to be named, said he plans to go ahead with a fundraiser for the president scheduled for later this month at his Virginia home.

    He said he got a call from the White House yesterday that the president will "stay in the race"."We all want to keep Donald Trump out of the White House, and probably that will keep us together," he said.

  16. White House chief of staff offers pep talkpublished at 21:14 3 July

    21:14 3 July

    In addition to an all-staff call with the Biden campaign, White House staffers also met for a call on Wednesday.

    Chief of Staff Jeff Zients encouraged the team to "hold your head high" despite the swirling speculation, the BBC's US partner CBS reported.

    “Last Thursday, the president, no, he didn’t have a great night, but it was one night,” Zients said.

    "There is so much the president has accomplished for the American people and his team has accomplished so much, and there is so much more we will accomplish for the American people," he added.

    “Stay together and have each other’s back."

  17. 'I am running': Biden to campaign staffpublished at 21:08 3 July

    21:08 3 July

    We're getting more information about the all-staff campaign call that President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris joined earlier.

    According to the BBC's US partner CBS, Biden told staffers on the call: “The past few days have been tough. I’m sure you're getting a lot of calls, and I'm sure many of you have questions as well."

    "Let me say this as clearly as I possibly can and as simply and straightforward as I can: I am running. I’m the nominee of the Democratic Party. No one's pushing me out. I'm not leaving."

  18. Biden or Harris - those are only options, DNC member sayspublished at 20:37 3 July

    20:37 3 July

    Adam Levy
    Reporting from Washington D.C.

    Live updates: Biden 'staying in the race' - White House hits back at speculation (7)Image source, Getty Images

    A Democratic National Committee (DNC) member who has been speaking to other delegates says the Democratic nomination must go to President Joe Biden or Vice President Kamala Harris if the president decides not to run.

    The person says that opening the nomination up to anyone else, including having a floor fight at the convention, would hurt the party.

    “If we open up the convention, it will cause pure chaos that will hurt us in November,” the member told the BBC.

    Members of the DNC are charged with voting to officially make Biden the party’s nominee, which will put him on the ballot across the country.

    The president’s delegates are among his strongest supporters. They were selected by the campaign ahead of the primaries earlier this year. Every candidate who earns a certain threshold of votes during the primaries can have delegates vote at the convention.

    “I think right now people are concerned but they are watching closely,” the member said. “We know it’s the president’s convention and delegates, and he’s going to be the nominee.”

    If the president were to change his mind about running and threw his support to the vice president, the member said confidently the party would support Harris.

    “If they were handed off the vice president, I think the entire apparatus would be turned over to her.”

    DNC members will be watching Biden closely over the coming days and want to feel reassured by him as they head into the fall season of campaigning.

    “I think they want to see a strong president out on the campaign trail who is projecting an image of strength and showing he has what it takes between now and November to put on an active campaign.”

  19. Live updates: Biden 'staying in the race' - White House hits back at speculation (8)

    Biden campaign on the defensivepublished at 20:08 3 July

    20:08 3 July

    Anthony Zurcher
    BBC North America correspondent

    The Biden campaign is in full-on damage control mode as the aftershocks from last Thursday’s presidential debate continue to be felt across the American political landscape.

    This morning, the president called senior Democratic congressional leaders. This evening he is meeting, both in person and virtually, with nearly a dozen prominent Democratic governors.

    This afternoon, the Biden campaign held an all-staff call, which the president joined, in an effort to boost flagging morale.

    After tomorrow’s Fourth of July holiday, Biden heads back out on the campaign trail and sits down for an interview with ABC News presenter George Stephanopoulos.

    Whether any of this will ease the Democratic panic remains to be seen. Post-debate polls show a slight movement toward Donald Trump – many in surveys where he already held an advantage. Deep pocketed donors are getting antsy.

    Biden is walking on a knife’s edging, under scrutiny both in public and during private meetings. Any sign of weakness or age could make headlines and prompt a Democratic stampede.

    According to the New York Times, the president told an “ally” that he understands the next few days will be crucial.

    That isn’t so much a sign of doubt as it is an acknowledgement of reality.

  20. White House says Biden 'as sharp as ever'published at 19:52 3 July

    19:52 3 July

    The White House press briefing has just finished.

    One of the final messages from press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was: "This is a president who is strong and resolute".

    "He is as sharp as ever, as I have known him to be," she says of President Biden.

Live updates: Biden 'staying in the race' - White House hits back at speculation (2024)
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