Biden tells Democrats he is ‘firmly committed’ to staying in the race

US President Joe Biden has promised he will “fight to the end” of November’s election, despite calls from some Democrats to drop out.

In a letter to congressional Democrats on Monday, Mr Biden said he “would not seek re-election if I did not have absolute confidence” that he could defeat Donald Trump.

The letter came after a group call with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, in which four lawmakers made explicit calls for Mr Biden to resign, according to media outlets including the BBC’s US partner CBS News.

The group of four also included others who voiced concerns about Mr Biden’s ability to hold office after his recent dismal debate performance, but did not ask the president to clear the way, CBS added.

In the letter, Mr Biden said he had “listened to people’s concerns” and “did not ignore them”, but that Democratic primary voters had “said clearly and unequivocally” that he should run.

The scrutiny of Mr Biden’s candidacy is expected to intensify on Monday as lawmakers return to Capitol Hill. The president will also be in the spotlight in the coming days as he hosts a summit in Washington with leaders of NATO countries.

US media reports differ slightly on which Democratic representative said what in the private conversation with Mr Jeffries on Sunday.

According to multiple sources, Jerry Nadler, Mark Takano and Adam Smith all said that Mr. Biden should resign, citing people who were on the call or knew the contents of the call.

According to CBS and the New York Times, Joe Morelle spoke, but the Associated Press reported that the fourth person was Jim Himes.

Others expressed concerns about Biden’s chances of winning the election against Trump. None of his representatives commented publicly.

Persistent questions about Mr Biden’s age escalated after a televised face-off with Donald Trump last month, in which the president fumbled some questions or appeared distracted.

The Biden camp offered various explanations, including that the president had a cold and was exhausted from the trip.

A day later, Mr Biden defied the president at a rally in Wisconsin, though that did little to allay the fears of some allies. Last week, Lloyd Doggett became the first Democrat in Congress to urge Mr Biden to resign.

Last week, at least four colleagues publicly agreed with him — and then, privately, four others are said to have expressed their views to Mr Jeffries on Sunday.

Trump has celebrated Biden’s poor performance, calling his opponent “broken” last week. He is three years younger than Biden, who is trying to return to the White House despite having recently been convicted in a New York criminal hush money case.

Amid growing speculation about Mr. Biden’s November candidacy, some Democrats are focusing on who might replace him.

Some party members have rallied around Vice President Kamala Harris, who is Mr Biden’s vice presidential nominee in November.

Another representative, Adam Schiff, said Ms Harris could beat Trump “overwhelmingly”, although speaking to NBC News, he also stopped short of saying Mr Biden should drop out.

In a clear signal that he was shifting his focus to Ms Harris, Trump suggested that the vice president would be “better” than Mr Biden, but still “disastrous”.

Mr Biden and his allies have repeatedly insisted in recent weeks that he remains capable of defeating Mr Trump for a second consecutive election – although he is reportedly aware that the coming days and weeks are crucial to saving his campaign.

In two interviews last week, Mr Biden admitted he had “screwed up” but then vowed that only “God Almighty” could convince him to end his bid to regain the White House.

Speaking to ABC News on Friday, the president refused to take a cognitive test and release the results to reassure voters that he is healthy enough to serve another term.

“I have a cognitive test every day,” he said. “Every day I have that test — everything I do [is a test]”


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