Democrats hold pivotal meetings on Biden, as divisions deepen after Trump debate

It's the first full Democratic caucus meeting since President Joe Biden's poor debate showing against former President Donald Trump stoked a campaign crisis.

Democrats hold pivotal meetings on Biden, as divisions deepen after Trump debate

President Joe Biden returns to the White House, July 7, 2024.

Kevin Dietsch | Getty Images

House Democrats convened at their national party headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday for a pivotal closed-door meeting, as members weigh whether to continue backing President Joe Biden's reelection bid or seek his withdrawal.

Lawmakers will not have access to their phones during the meeting, which marks the first time the full caucus has assembled since Biden's disastrous debate against former President Donald Trump last month sparked a full-blown campaign crisis.

The incumbent's feeble, raspy showing in that debate stoked panic among Democrats, prompting some top donors, pundits and allies to openly urge Biden, 81, to abandon his bid for another four years in office.

That growing chorus includes at least nine sitting House Democrats, according to NBC News' tally.

But few other House Democrats, and no Democratic senators, have so far been willing to join them in calling for a change at the top of the ticket — an immensely risky move less than four months out from Election Day.

Biden has rejected calls to step aside, saying he believes he is still the best person to compete against Trump in the presidential election. He has worked since the debate to shore up support from key blocs, including the Congressional Black and Hispanic Caucuses.

Democratic leaders have issued terse statements of support for the Biden-Harris ticket.

"I made clear publicly the day after the debate that I support President Joe Biden and the Democratic ticket. My position has not changed," House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York told reporters Monday evening.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has said he backs Biden.

House Democrats were set to meet at 9 a.m. ET, NBC reported. Senate Democrats are set to hold a caucus lunch on Tuesday afternoon.

Outside the Democratic National Committee building, a handful of protesters, clad in sunglasses and suits, held up all-caps signs asking, "Is Joe Biden fit for office?!"

The protesters said they were from the National Republican Campaign Committee, Politico reported.

This is developing news. Please check back for updates.

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