Latest News 09-07-2024 21:01 8 Views

Tight-lipped House Dems still divided on Biden, leave closed-door meeting without consensus

House Democrats are still at odds with each other over how to handle President Biden's re-election campaign after a closed-door meeting on Tuesday morning, as concerns grow over his viability as a candidate and his mental fitness for office.

Left-wing lawmakers were largely evasive when leaving the meeting at Democratic National Committee headquarters on Capitol Hill, telling crowds of reporters they had 'no comment' on what went on. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., avoided reporters by departing through an alternate entrance.

Others who have publicly expressed concerns about Biden's candidacy said they did so during the meeting as well. Democrats who spoke with Fox News Digital characterized those discussions as 'respectful.'

But lawmakers also conceded that they were on a rapidly-shrinking timeline to either mount a caucus-wide push against Biden or get in line behind him as the nominee. Democrats' nominating convention, in Chicago, is in mid-August.

'I explained how I came to the decision to go public with my concerns, about how I made a lot of calls, and behind the scenes, and tried to get my voice heard before going public,' Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., one of six House Democrats who's asked Biden to step aside, told Fox News Digital. 

Moulton said he also 'addressed some of the concerns that people raised about what would happen next.'

'I think that we… either pass the baton to the vice president or have some sort of makeup primary,' Moulton said when asked to elaborate. 'It'll show the American public that we're energetic. We're willing to change. We're listening and responding to the people's concerns. And we're willing to have a serious debate within our party about the path forward, something that Republicans are obviously unwilling to do.'

When asked how his comments were taken, he said, 'I will tell you that everybody who spoke on either side of this issue was received respectfully.'

'People were respectful, nobody booed or cheered, it was a serious conversation that I appreciate we’re able to have in a closed-door meeting,' Rep. Brittany Pettersen, D-Colo., said when asked about disagreements.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, the first House Democrat to come out against Biden, said he also spoke up in the meeting. He told reporters, 'I've had a tremendous outpouring of support in my district for the position I’ve taken. So many people saying, ‘Thank you for voicing this.’'

Other lawmakers were less willing to talk. Rep. Earl Blumenaur, D-Ore., told reporters, 'I don't do this in the media. It's not helpful.'

At least six more House Democrats either declined to comment or simply did not respond when approached after the meeting by Fox News Digital.

Rep. Greg Landsman, D-Ohio, who has expressed concerns about Biden, told reporters the president has 'got a lot of work' to convince people he's fit for candidacy.

All the lawmakers who Fox News Digital heard from said there was no consensus communicated by House Democratic leaders on how to move forward.

'It was not about consensus... it was listening to discussions,' said Rep. Lou Correa, D-Calif., who is emphatically behind Biden.

He told Fox News Digital he was not frustrated at those who spoke out against Biden, explaining, 'I wanted to hear them.'

Pettersen told reporters, 'I think that the path moving forward, you know, we’re still having discussions. But if Joe Biden doesn't step aside, people will be united in support of the president.'

'I think we just had a lot of, wide variety of perspectives and different pieces to highlight. There wasn’t one concise message,' she said.

Similarly, Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., said on Monday morning that he would support Biden if he was ultimately declared the nominee in August.

Biden, for his part, has said multiple times that he will not step aside and that he is the best person to take on former President Trump.

But his disastrous debate performance late last month on CNN has brought concerns about his age and mental acuity to the forefront.

Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif., said the matter should be solved 'sooner than later.'

When asked about the timeline, Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., pointed out that Congress only returned to session on Monday evening.

'Obviously, everything has to be wrapped up [by August],' he said.


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