Biden sends defiant letter to Democrats says time to end questions, come together

He railed against party "elites" in an angry call into MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

July 8, 2024, 9:26 AM

In a lengthy letter to Democrats, President Joe Biden on Monday says it is time for the party to come together so it can have the best chance at beating Donald Trump.

"The question of how to move forward has been well-aired for over a week now. And it's time for it to end," Biden says. "We have one job. And that is to beat Donald Trump. We have 42 days to the Democratic Convention and 119 days to the general election. Any weakening of resolve or lack of clarity about the task ahead only helps Trump and hurts us. It is time to come together, move forward as a unified party, and defeat Donald Trump."

President Joe Biden speaks with the press before boarding Air Force One prior to departure from Dane County Regional Airport in Madison, Wisconsin, July 5, 2024.
Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Biden, noting that House and Senate members are returning to Washington Monday, appears to be trying to head off a growing number of Democrats either saying he should step aside as the party's presumptive nominee -- or are continuing to question whether he needs to do so.

"Now that you have returned from the July 4th recess, I want you to know that despite all the speculation in the press and elsewhere, I am firmly committed to staying in this race, to running this race to the end, and to beating Donald Trump," he writes.

"I have had extensive conversations with the leadership of the party, elected officials, rank and file members, and most importantly, Democratic voters over these past 10 days or so. I have heard the concerns that people have - their good faith fears and worries about what is at stake in this election. I am not blind to them. Believe me, I know better than anyone the responsibility and the burden the nominee of our party carries. I carried it in 2020 when the fate of our nation was at stake," he says.

"I also know these concerns come from a place of real respect for my lifetime of public service and my record as President, and I have been moved by the expressions of affection for me from so many who have known me well and supported me over the course of my public life. I've been grateful for the rock-solid, steadfast support from so many elected Democrats in Congress and all across the country and taken great strength from the resolve and determination I've seen from so many voters and grassroots supporters even in the hardest of weeks," he continues. "I can respond to all this by saying clearly and unequivocally: I wouldn't be running again if I did not absolutely believe I was the best person to beat Donald Trump in 2024."

Striking a defiant tone, he says, "We had a Democratic nomination process and the voters have spoken clearly and decisively. I received over 14 million votes, 87% of the votes cast across the entire nominating process. I have nearly 3,900 delegates, making me the presumptive nominee of our party by a wide margin. This was a process open to anyone who wanted to run. Only three people chose to challenge me," he says. "The voters of the Democratic Party have voted. They have chosen me to be the nominee of the party. Do we now just say this process didn't matter? That the voters don't have a say?"

Biden adds, "I decline to do that. I feel a deep obligation to the faith and the trust the voters of the Democratic Party have placed in me to run this year. It was their decision to make. Not the press, not the pundits, not the big donors, not any selected group of individuals, no matter how well intentioned. The voters - and the voters alone - decide the nominee of the Democratic Party.vHow can we stand for democracy in our nation if we ignore it in our own party? I cannot do that.I will not do that."

At least four senior House Democrats told House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries on Sunday that they are calling on Biden to step down from the presidential race, according to several sources with knowledge of the discussion on the private call.

Reps. Jerry Nadler, Mark Takano, Joe Morelle and Adam Smith stated Biden should step aside and no longer continue his campaign, sources told ABC News.

Minutes after his letter became public, a furious Biden launched a full-throated defense of his decision to stay in this race, calling into MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

"The bottom line is, we're not going anywhere. I am not going anywhere!" Biden boomed through the phone.

"I wouldn't be running if I didn't absolutely believe that I am the best candidate to beat Donald Trump in 2024. We had a Democratic nominating process where the voters spoke clearly," he said, well-aware that his political future is at a make or break moment.

After several days on the campaign trail, the president is adamant that voters still support him. And to those party insiders doubting him, the president issued a blunt challenge.

"Watch. Watch. I'm getting so frustrated by the elites - I'm not talking about you guys," he said, referring to hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, "but the elites in the party. 'Oh, they know so much more.' If any of these guys don't think I should run, run against me. Go ahead - announce for president. Challenge me at the convention," he said.

He fired back at his critics who are calling for him to step down, after the hosts cited everyone from Nadler to former Barack Obama adviser David Axelrod to the New York Times editorial doard.

"I don't care what those big names think! They were wrong in 2020. They were wrong in 2022 about the red wave. They were wrong in 2024. Come out with me and watch people react! You make the judgment. You make the judgment!" he fumed.

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