‘We’re doomed’: Democratic lawmakers worry Biden’s interview won’t save his campaign


WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden continued debate damage control during a Friday-night interview on ABC News, working to persuade Democrats that he’s the best candidate to defeat former President Donald Trump this fall.

But behind the scenes, the interview did little to quell fear from Hill Democrats who worry that Biden’s debate performance leaves his candidacy beyond repair.

In the hours after Biden sat for a 22-minute interview with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, more than half a dozen Democrats in Congress described Biden’s political situation in stark terms including “heartbroken,” “doomed” and a “f—–g disaster.”

On Saturday morning, Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., became the latest Democrat and first front-line member to call for Biden to “step aside for the next generation of leadership.”

Separately, a Democratic lawmaker who previously endorsed Biden told NBC News that they will be breaking their silence on his political future “soon.”

“It made me sad,” the lawmaker said of Biden’s interview. “Completely out of touch with reality and insulated from truth.”

A senior aide to another front-line Democrat on the Hill said there have been concrete discussions about front-line Democrats raising their concerns directly to the president in a public letter. Congress was not in session this past week, and these members decided to wait until they are together in D.C., the aide told NBC News.

“Front-liners are all pissed, and they are personally ready to pull the trigger to ask Biden to step aside, but politically they are scared s—less,” said the aide, who was granted anonymity to discuss sensitive conversations.

One House Democrat predicted that there will be more calls for Biden to step aside in the coming days.

“Denial of the problem is not a solution or a path forward to convincing our constituents that he has the capacity or the vision for four more years,” the lawmaker said.

And another lawmaker lamented Biden’s refusal to leave the race.

“We are desperate to protect our democracy and we truly want him to have the grace that comes with beating Trump in 2020 and deciding to pass the baton,” the House Democrat said.

During Friday’s interview, Biden was asked multiple times if he had taken a cognitive test or if he would be willing to take an assessment and release the results. Each time he demurred, arguing he takes tests every day, pointing to his presidential responsibilities.

His refusal to take a test “is an issue,” one House Democrat argued.

“Opinions are hardening in many quarters that action has to be taken and that action is a different nominee,” said one longtime House Democrat following Biden’s interview. The lawmaker said that while the interview was not enough to make a judgment about Biden, it is instructive in combination with public appearances.

When reached for comment, the Biden campaign characterized the interview as demonstrating the president is able to answer tough questions. The campaign also pointed to the president explaining how he views the choice this November.

At the same time, many Democrats who have been floated as future presidential contenders have also closed ranks around Biden before the debate, reiterating their support for the president. These high-profile politicians include Govs. Gavin Newsom of California, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, and Wes Moore of Maryland.

The chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Rep. Nanette Barragán, also said she does not see concerns with Biden.

“He clearly understands the questions and the topics and responds accordingly,” she said. “It’s a tough interview, and I think he handled it well.”

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com



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