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Democrats want new Trump opponent

U.S. House Minority Leader (D-NY) speaks at his weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol Building on November 03, 2023 in Washington, DC.

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House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries told reporters Thursday that the party’s leadership plans to ask every one of the 213 Democrats in the House about their feelings on whether President Joe Biden should remain as the party’s presumptive nominee in the 2024 election.

Meanwhile, on the other side of Congress, Biden’s senior advisors are set to meet with Senate Democrats amid growing fears in the caucus that the president is not the party’s best candidate against former President Donald Trump.

“Our goal is to talk to every single person” in the Democratic caucus, said House Minority Leader Jeffries, who represents a district in New York City.

“It’s a process to make sure that every voice is authentically being clearly heard,” Jeffries said.

The leader said he hopes to finish those conversations “as soon as we can,” saying that after that, “we’ll convene as a leadership team and figure the next step.”

Jeffries is set to hold a news conference at 12:30 p.m. ET.

Biden’s campaign chair Jen O’Malley Dillon, and senior presidential advisors Mike Donilon and Steve Ricchetti are expected to meet with Senate Democrats.

“I want to understand their plan for winning,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., NBC News reported.

Biden himself is set to face reporters at a potentially make-or-break solo news conference later Thursday, a day after the first Democratic senator joined growing calls for Biden to drop out of the 2024 election contest, citing his “disastrous debate” two weeks ago against Trump.

“For the good of the country, I’m calling on President Biden to withdraw from the race,” Sen. Peter Welch of Vermont wrote Wednesday in an op-ed in The Washington Post.

“The stakes could not be higher. We cannot unsee President Biden’s disastrous debate performance. We cannot ignore or dismiss the valid questions raised since that night,” Welch wrote.

US President Joe Biden walks to the White House in Washington, DC, on July 7, 2024, after attending campaign events in Pennsylvania. 

Chris Kleponis | Afp | Getty Images

In addition to Welch, about a dozen Democrats in the House of Representatives have publicly said Biden should abandon his campaign and allow another Democrat to become the party’s nominee for November’s election.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat who retains both her House seat and powerful sway there, on Wednesday refused to say she wanted Biden to remain in the race, suggesting he might drop out despite nearly two weeks of his adamantly saying he would not do so.

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“It’s up to the president to decide if he is going to run,” Pelosi said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show. “We’re all encouraging him to make that decision because time is running short.”

Biden is likely to be asked about both Welch and Pelosi at his news conference, his first since the debate, scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. ET on Thursday at the end of a two-day NATO summit in Washington.

Biden is also likely to face questions about whether he is healthy enough to serve a second, four-year term in office.

On Wednesday, the actor George Clooney – who participated in a major fundraiser for Biden in Los Angeles three weeks ago – wrote that the Biden he saw at that event “was not the Joe ‘big F-ing deal’ Biden of 2010 … He wasn’t even the Joe Biden of 2020.”

“He was the same man we all witnessed at the debate,” Clooney wrote in a New York Times op-ed urging Biden to quit the race.

“We are not going to win in November with this president,” Clooney wrote. “On top of that, we won’t win the House, and we’re going to lose the Senate. This isn’t only my opinion; this is the opinion of every senator and congress member and governor that I’ve spoken with in private. Every single one, irrespective of what he or she is saying publicly.”

This is developing news. Check back for updates.

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