Rep. Jamie Raskin: Democrats having 'a serious conversation' following Biden's debate performance

Raskin's remarks marked a departure from the Democrats' party line.

June 30, 2024, 8:23 PM

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said Sunday that Democrats are "having a serious conversation" about what to do after President Joe Biden's debate performance -- a contrast to comments from other high-ranking members of the party.

"Obviously, there was a big problem with Joe Biden's debate performance, and there is also just a tremendous reservoir of affection and love for Joe Biden in our party," Raskin said during an appearance on MSNBC weekend show "Velshi," with host Ali Velshi. "So, this makes it a difficult situation for everybody, but there are very honest and serious and rigorous conversations taking place at every level of our party because it is a political party, and we have differences in point of view."

Raskin said that holding dialogue about a candidate is "what a real political party does," and stands in contrast with the process of the Republican party.

"I mean, if you compare that to the nonexistent dialogue and conversation that took place in the Republican party after Donald Trump's criminal conviction on 34 counts, it's remarkable," Raskin said. "And so, we're having a serious conversation about what to do."

PHOTO: Dem House rep Jamie Raskin
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) makes a statement at the House Oversight and Accountability Committee meeting at the Rayburn House Office Building on June 11, 2024, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Court Accountability)
Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Court Accountab

Raskin said Democrats will be united at their upcoming Democratic National Convention.

"One thing I can tell you is that regardless of what President Biden decides, our party is going to be unified, and our party also needs him at the very center of our deliberations in our campaign," Raskin said. "So, whether he's the candidate or someone else is the candidate, he is going to be the keynote speaker at our convention. He will be the figure that we rally around to move forward and beat the forces of authoritarianism and reaction in the country."

Biden's debate performance on Thursday has been widely acknowledged as a significant blow to his reelection campaign, with many raising alarm that he legitimized Republican attacks claiming the 81-year-old is too old and frail to be president. One unnamed House Democrat described it as a "f------ disaster."

Although many Democrats acknowledged the debate did not go well for Biden, most have maintained that he should stay in the race.

In an interview with ABC News' "This Week," Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del. insisted that Biden is the only candidate who can beat Trump in November.

"The stakes of this race couldn't be higher, and the only Democrat who's ever beaten Donald Trump is Joe Biden. He is our candidate for November, and he has the best shot to beat him," he said.

Democratic House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-NY, said Sunday that Biden's debate performance "was a setback."

"But of course, I believe that a setback is nothing more than a setup for a comeback," he said on MSNBC's "The Weekend." And the reality is, Joe Biden has confronted and had to come back from tragedy, trials, from tribulations throughout his entire life."

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) speaks during a press conference on June 27, 2024, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., took a similar stance Sunday.

"It's not about performance in terms of a debate, it's about performance in a presidency," she told Dana Bash on CNN's "State of the Union," touting some of Biden's accomplishments over the years.

At a rally in North Carolina on Friday, Biden admitted he performed poorly at the debate, but defended himself for staying in the race.

President Joe Biden delivers remarks during the CNN Presidential Debate at the CNN Studios on June 27, 2024, in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

"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."

A senior campaign aide told ABC News that the president is "absolutely" not considering dropping out of the race.

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