Biden campaign argues president dropping out would 'lead to weeks of chaos'

The president has spent Friday and Saturday fundraising, vowing to fight harder.

President Joe Biden's campaign on Saturday night, in a fundraising appeal to supporters, said the president dropping out would only "lead to weeks of chaos" and leave the eventual replacement weakened ahead of a November faceoff with former President Donald Trump.

"The bedwetting brigade is calling for Joe Biden to 'drop out.' That is the best possible way for Donald Trump to win and us to lose," Biden deputy campaign manager Rob Flaherty argued in the email to supporters.

"First of all: Joe Biden is going to be the Democratic nominee, period. End of story. Voters voted. He won overwhelmingly," Flaherty added. "And if he were to drop out, it would lead to weeks of chaos, internal foodfighting, and a bunch of candidates who limp into a brutal floor fight at the convention, all while Donald Trump has time to speak to American voters uncontested."

He continued: "All of that would be in service of a nominee who would go into a general election in the weakest possible position with zero dollars in their bank account. You want a highway to losing? It's that."

President Joe Biden participates in the CNN Presidential Debate, June 27, 2024, in Atlanta.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Flaherty's email was framed around seven responses to tell "your panicked aunt, your MAGA uncle, or some self-important Podcasters" following Biden's poor debate showing, and amid calls for him to step aside.

Late Friday, the New York Times editorial board, which endorsed Biden in the 2020 general election matchup with Trump, said the president should drop out, saying his debate appearance was "the shadow of a great public servant."

"Mr. Biden has been an admirable president… But the greatest public service Mr. Biden can now perform is to announce that he will not continue to run for re-election," the board wrote.

"The president's performance cannot be written off as a bad night or blamed on a supposed cold, because it affirmed concerns that have been mounting for months or even years," the board wrote.

By staying in the race, they argued Biden was "engaged in a reckless gamble." The campaign swiftly brushed off the board.

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump participate in the first presidential debate of the 2024 elections in Atlanta, June 27, 2024.
Andrew Caballero-reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

"The last time Joe Biden lost the New York Times editorial board's endorsement it turned out pretty well for him," Biden campaign co-chair Cedric Richmond said in a statement shared with ABC News on Friday.

(In 2020, the Time's editorial board endorsed both Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota for the Democratic nomination for president, which Biden later secured.)

At a string of fundraisers on Friday and Saturday, Biden sought to reassure donors he had what it took to stay in the race, vowing to fight harder.

Biden gave a forceful speech to supporters at a rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Friday, "Folks, I don’t walk as easy as I used to. I don’t speak as smoothly as I used to. I don’t debate as well as I used to, but ... I know how to tell the truth. I know right from wrong, and I know how to do this job," he told the roaring crowd. "I know, like millions of Americans know, when you get knocked down, you get back up."

"It wasn't my best debate ever as Barack pointed out," Biden said at a fundraiser hosted in Red Bank, New Jersey, according to the pool reporters in the room, later adding, "I understand the concern after the debate. I get it. I didn't have a great night, but I'm going to be fighting harder."

And publicly, Democratic officials have circled the wagons around Biden. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday night after the debate that he "will never turn [his] back on President Biden," while New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, who hosted the fundraiser in his state on Saturday, told Biden "We are all with you 1,000%," and called him "America's comeback kid."

However, some discussions have been had privately among some party leaders about how to convince sitting senators to have a frank conversation with the president about bowing out.

Other than the argument that chaos would ensure with a Biden withdrawal, the note included asking supporters to tell friends that despite the "rough" start to the debate, "voters saw what a threat Donald Trump is" and that "the long-term impact of debates is overstated."

"And lastly, but most importantly, you've got to keep the faith," Flaherty said toward the end of his email, adding that the campaign was going to "keep our heads down and do the work."