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Pelosi Says 'It's up to the President' to Decide Whether to Stay in the Race
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By Associated Press
Published 2 days ago on
July 10, 2024

"We're all encouraging him to make that decision because time is running short," Pelosi said Wednesday on MSNBC. (AP/John McDonnell)

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WASHINGTON — Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday “it’s up to the president to decide” if he should stay in the 2024 race despite President Joe Biden’s insistence he is still running for re-election, showing how unsettled the question remains among prominent Democrats and Capitol Hill.

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

Pelosi has been widely watched for signals of how top Democrats are thinking about Biden’s imperiled candidacy, and her comments will be viewed as important for the party’s direction as they weigh possible alternatives in the campaign against Republican Donald Trump.

Because of her powerful position as the former House speaker and proximity to Biden as a trusted longtime ally of his generation, Pelosi is seen as one of the few Democratic leaders who could have influence on the president’s thinking.

Pelosi’s Stance on Biden’s Candidacy

Pressed on whether she personally wants Biden to stay on the top of the ticket as he has defiantly said he is staying in the race, Pelosi said, “I want him to do whatever he decides to do.”

The lack of a full statement from Pelosi backing Biden’s continued campaign is what lawmakers are likely to hear most, suggesting that despite the president’s vow he is not stepping aside, his party still has questions about his candidacy and whether he is the best choice to confront Trump.

Democrats’ Concerns Over Biden’s Candidacy

Pelosi’s remarks come as Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat from Colorado, spoke forcefully about the danger of a second Trump presidency and said it’s for the president “to consider” the options.

Stopping short of calling for Biden to drop out, Bennet said on CNN what he told his colleagues in private – that he believes Trump “is on track to win this election — and maybe win it by a landslide and take with him the Senate and the House.”

Bennet said, “It’s not a question about politics. It’s a moral question about the future of our country.”

Democrats have been reeling over the question of whether to continue backing Biden after his poor showing in the June 27 presidential debate with Trump and his campaign’s lackluster response to their pleas that Biden show voters he is up for another four-year term.

House and Senate Democrats met privately Tuesday, their first group meetings back in Washington since the debate. While seven House Democrats have publicly called on Biden to end his candidacy, no Senate Democrats have gone that far. Bennet was among three Democratic senators, including Sen. Jon Tester of Montana and Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who spoke up during a private lunch Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the meeting and granted anonymity to discuss it.

Pelosi of California said Biden “has been a great president” who is beloved and respected by House Democrats.

The Californian said she watched as he delivered a forceful speech at the NATO summit on Tuesday, and recounted his many accomplishments.

While foreign leaders are in Washington this week and Biden is on the world stage hosting the event at a critical time in foreign affairs, Pelosi encouraged Democrats “let’s just hold off” with any announcements about his campaign.

“Whatever you’re thinking, either tell somebody privately but you don’t have to put that out on the table until we see,” she said, how it goes “this week.”

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