As some allies whisper about ditching Biden, Black Democrats are rallying around him. (2024)

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As some allies whisper about ditching Biden, Black Democrats are rallying around him. (1)

Chris Cameron,Catie Edmondson,Maya C. Miller,Robert Jimison and Annie Karni

Here’s the latest.

President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and former President Donald J. Trump appeared on opposite sides of the country on Tuesday evening in a blur of events against the backdrop of a heaving crisis in the Democratic Party.

Earlier in the evening, Mr. Biden gave a forceful speech to NATO allies in Washington, declaring that the alliance that rebuilt Europe and stood strong during the Cold War is “more powerful than ever.” With no hint of raspiness in his voice, and reading from a teleprompter, the president delivered a speech that gave his critics little to seize on, but also offered little reassurance about his ability to handle high-pressure, unscripted moments.

Occupied with his official duties in the capital, Ms. Harris stumped on the president’s behalf in Nevada, a crucial swing state. But the vice president, speaking in a casino ballroom in Las Vegas, kept the focus on Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump, casting the race as a decision between a country of “freedom, compassion and rule of law” and one of “chaos, fear and hate.”

Mr. Trump also took the stage for his first public event this week at a campaign rally in Doral, Fla. He reveled in Mr. Biden’s poor performance at the debate and the chaos now taking place within the Democratic Party. With Democrats speculating about Ms. Harris succeeding Mr. Biden, Mr. Trump and his team have increasingly taken aim at the vice president, and he repeatedly mocked her from the stage on Tuesday.

On Capitol Hill, top congressional Democrats indicated that they were unwilling — at least for now — to try to push aside President Biden despite grave concerns about his age, mental acuity and ability to win re-election.

Both in public and behind closed doors, House and Senate Democrats from across the political spectrum have raised fears about Mr. Biden’s viability as a candidate. But no Democratic leader on Capitol Hill was willing to ask the president to withdraw.

Instead, they emerged from private party meetings on Tuesday in which the president’s shortcomings as a candidate were the main topic of discussion swearing allegiance to Mr. Biden — if not exactly in enthusiastic or expansive terms.

“I’m with Joe,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, repeatedly replied, as he sidestepped multiple questions about Mr. Biden’s fitness for office.

“We are ridin’ with Biden,” Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina proclaimed nine times as he sought to shut down reporters’ queries.

Still, House and Senate Democrats left their respective meetings on Tuesday deeply fractured. Asked whether Democrats were leaving the discussion on the same page, Representative Steve Cohen of Tennessee replied: “We’re not even in the same book.”

And on Tuesday afternoon, a seventh Democrat, Representative Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey, publicly called on Mr. Biden to withdraw from the race.

“When I think of my four children and all of the rights that another Trump presidency endangers, and in light of the recent Supreme Court decision that gave inordinate power to the president of the United States, the stakes are too high — and the threat is too real — to stay silent,” Ms. Sherrill said in a statement. “I realize this is hard, but we have done hard things in pursuit of democracy since the founding of this nation. It is time to do so again.”

Here’s what else to know:

  • Some senators in a closed-door luncheon on Tuesday privately expressed doubts about Mr. Biden’s ability to beat former President Donald J. Trump, but said they did not think it would be viable to change nominees now because Mr. Biden has shown no signs of being willing to do so. Senators Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Jon Tester of Montana, who are facing two of the most competitive re-election races in the country, both spoke at the lunch and said they believed it would be tough for them to win with Mr. Biden at the top of the ticket, according to an attendee who described the conversation on the condition of anonymity.

  • In the House, one veteran Democrat, Representative Diana DeGette of Colorado, suggested in a statement after the meeting that it was time for the party to move on. “The urgent need right now is for Democrats to stick together and focus on the danger of Trump and his extremist agenda,” she said in a lengthy statement. “If we do that, we will win.”

  • Mr. Biden’s strength on Capitol Hill has been sustained in large part by party leaders and key constituencies, including the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. When reporters asked Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, on Tuesday to respond to fears raised by lawmakers about Mr. Biden’s fitness, she responded in part by quoting several Black lawmakers who have come out in strong support of the president.

Carl Hulse, David E. Sanger and Michael D. Shear contributed reporting.

July 9, 2024, 10:38 p.m. ET

July 9, 2024, 10:38 p.m. ET

Reid J. Epstein and Shawn Hubler

Reid J. Epstein reported from Washington, and Shawn Hubler from Sacramento.

Biden, on a call with mayors, works to shore up Democratic support.

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President Biden held a video call with nearly 200 Democratic mayors on Tuesday night, reiterating that he was staying in the presidential race, reminding the city leaders how best to support his campaign and discussing his second-term agenda.

Mr. Biden, his campaign and the White House have been working to dismiss and defuse Democratic criticisms about his viability after his poor debate showing. Those efforts included a gathering of Democratic governors last week at the White House, a television interview with ABC News two days later and calls on Monday to top donors, congressional leaders and a meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus.

The call with mayors lasted about 40 minutes and Mr. Biden took three questions, according to Mayor Cory Mason of Racine, Wis., a Democrat who participated in the call and provided details about how it went — as did five other mayors who insisted on anonymity to freely discuss the conversation. Mr. Mason described Mr. Biden as “the president that everybody’s used to seeing” and not the one who delivered a halting debate performance nearly two weeks ago.

“It was understandable for a time for people to ask if everything is OK,” Mr. Mason said. “It’s four months out from the election, so you can’t have too many of those days, but every day that passes, he’s proving he can recover from a bad debate performance.”

The mayors described the call as a somewhat scripted pep rally, with Mr. Biden speaking for about 20 minutes and then taking questions from mayors selected by the moderator, Mayor Kate Gallego of Phoenix.

Like many video calls arranged by the Biden campaign and the White House, participants could not see who else was on the call or add comments into the chat screen. They could indicate their feelings about what was being said by adding emojis, and many contributed smiley-face ones as Mr. Biden spoke, according to Mr. Mason.

Mr. Biden began his remarks by again acknowledging that he had fallen short at the debate, calling it “a lousy night,” Mr. Mason said. The president then ticked through his campaign’s regular talking points on health care, abortion rights and former President Donald J. Trump. He also mentioned housing as a second-term priority.

“We’re going to make sure that we focus on the things that affect people in my city in Wilmington, Del., my hometown, as well as yours,” Mr. Biden said on the call, according to his campaign.

Ms. Gallego, the president of the Democratic Mayors Association, moderated a question-and-answer session on the call, during which Mr. Biden took questions from Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway of Madison, Wis.; Mayor Ron Nirenberg of San Antonio; and Mayor Quinton Lucas of Kansas City, Mo., who warned Mr. Biden that his question might be interrupted by his son who was born last month.

After the call, the Democratic Mayors Association endorsed Mr. Biden for re-election.

Ms. Rhodes-Conway thanked Mr. Biden for directing money from his coronavirus stimulus package to cities and asked him what his plans were for a potential second term. Mr. Biden spoke of addressing gun violence and crime in cities and said he would seek to reinstitute a federal ban on assault weapons like the one he helped pass in the Senate in 1994 that expired a decade later.

Mr. Lucas asked Mr. Biden how America’s mayors could help the president’s campaign. Mr. Biden replied that “democracy is on the line” in the election and emphasized the number of field offices and campaign staff members he had deployed.

Mr. Nirenberg asked Mr. Biden about the fight for democracy and thanked Mr. Biden for increased funding for law enforcement in the 2021 pandemic aid bill.

Mr. Biden responded by discussing decreases in violent crime nationwide and reminded the mayors about Mr. Trump’s suggestion that he wouldn’t be a dictator “except for Day 1” and about Project 2025, the network of policy plans Mr. Trump’s allies aim to carry out should he return to the White House.

“You could tell he was in fighting mode,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento. “Just because you’re not smooth doesn’t mean you’re not great. There was an element of, ‘Give ’em hell’ that maybe represents a different kind of strength than what we usually think of in a politician.”

Reporting was contributed by Julie Bosman from Chicago, Eduardo Medina from Durham, N.C., and Ernesto Londoño from Honolulu.

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As some allies whisper about ditching Biden, Black Democrats are rallying around him. (4)

July 9, 2024, 10:23 p.m. ET

July 9, 2024, 10:23 p.m. ET

Simon J. Levien

Reporting from Doral, Fla.

Trump and Biden have now both claimed responsibility for strengthening NATO. On his social media site today as the NATO summit in Washington began, Trump said there “would be no NATO by now” if it weren’t for his presidency. Trump has for years been critical of the alliance. In his ABC News interview on Friday, Biden said that he was “the guy that put NATO together.”

July 9, 2024, 10:02 p.m. ET

July 9, 2024, 10:02 p.m. ET

Kenneth P. Vogel

Reporting from Washington

The White House doctor discussed business with the president’s brother.

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Before Dr. Kevin O’Connor was appointed White House physician at the beginning of the Biden administration, he discussed a business venture with the president’s brother James Biden, but the doctor ultimately received no compensation, Mr. Biden’s lawyer said.

The discussions revolved around James Biden’s involvement with a health care company called Americore, which was looking to expand a network of hospitals in underserved rural areas of the United States.

Republicans have seized on the episode to suggest that Dr. O’Connor might have had incentive to minimize issues related to President Biden’s health. The White House rejected the speculation, with a spokesman calling it “ridiculous and insulting.”

In his current role, Dr. O’Connor produced letters each of the three years following Mr. Biden’s physicals that attested the president was healthy and “fit to successfully execute the duties of the presidency.” The assessments have come under renewed scrutiny in recent weeks as Mr. Biden’s decline has become more apparent, particularly after his feeble performance in last month’s debate against former President Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee.

Representative James R. Comer, a Kentucky Republican who is chairman of the House Oversight Committee, sent a letter this week asking Dr. O’Connor to turn over documents related to James Biden and Americore, and to submit to a transcribed interview with committee staff.

The White House dismissed Mr. Comer’s effort to draw a link between Dr. O’Connor’s statements about the president and his consultation with James Biden.

“Suggestions that he has offered his guidance and transparent medical assessments based on anything other than his expertise as a doctor is insulting to someone who has given so much to this country and has a broad, bipartisan reputation for integrity and service,” Ian Sams, a White House spokesman, said in an email.

Mr. Sams praised Dr. O’Connor’s 22-year Army career — including service in Afghanistan and Iraq — and noted that he had served both Democratic and Republican presidents.

The White House declined to comment on Dr. O’Connor’s work when he was outside the government, which is the period covered by his discussions with James Biden.

Though James Biden lacked experience in hospital administration, Americore turned to him to help increase business, according to testimony he gave to the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees in February as part of their impeachment inquiry into the president.

The engagement began in mid-2017, after Joseph R. Biden, Jr. left the vice presidency, according to Politico.

At the time, Dr. O’Connor, who had grown close to the Biden family while serving as the physician to Mr. Biden during his vice presidency, had become his personal doctor once he left office.

James Biden consulted with Dr. O’Connor about an idea for winning contracts related to the Department of Veterans Affairs, James Biden suggested to congressional investigators, according to a transcript.

Mr. Biden described the idea as “one component in terms of filling these hospitals,” and suggested that Dr. O’Connor had connections that could help.

“He introduced me to a team,” Mr. Biden said, describing a lunch meeting arranged by Dr. O’Connor with a woman who “ran a group that would go on the military bases, and they would screen for post-traumatic stress disorder and other related illnesses.”

Mr. Biden said he proposed “some sort of a joint venture” to do the work, describing it as a huge market because veterans’ and rural hospitals were jammed with patients who were not receiving treatment for these conditions.

Paul J. Fishman, a lawyer for James Biden, said in a statement that his client had “a longstanding interest in ensuring veterans receive best-in-class care for PTSD,” and that he sought Dr. O’Connor’s advice on best practices.

Mr. Fishman said that “there was never an effort to secure contracts from the Department of Veterans Affairs.” Dr. O’Connor, he said, “was not in business with Jim” and was not paid for his consultation.

Mr. Biden received $641,000 from Americore, though the company characterized $600,000 as loans, according to subsequent court filings.

The joint venture does not appear to have proceeded, and Americore filed for bankruptcy in 2019 amid lawsuits and a reported federal investigation.

A trustee overseeing the company’s liquidation sued Mr. Biden in 2022, accusing him of failing to repay the loans. He later agreed to pay $350,000 to the trustee to settle the lawsuit, according to a court filing.

The lawsuit asserted that Mr. Biden secured the loans “based upon representations that his last name, ‘Biden,’ could ‘open doors’ and that he could obtain a large investment from the Middle East based on his political connections.”

No evidence has emerged that the president was involved in the venture.

In his congressional testimony, James Biden downplayed having referred to his brother’s name when discussing business with Americore executives.

“I mean, you know, I may have mentioned my brother’s name on occasion, but I never did it in the, you know — what you’re inferring is that I tried to use it as a lever or influence,” Mr. Biden said.

July 9, 2024, 9:16 p.m. ET

July 9, 2024, 9:16 p.m. ET

Neil Vigdor

Senator Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat, told CNN on Tuesday night that President Biden was on a path toward losing to Donald Trump in a “landslide” in the November election, one that he warned could cost the party both chambers of Congress. “I think that we could lose the whole thing,” said Bennet, who stopped short of calling for Biden to exit the race.

July 9, 2024, 9:05 p.m. ET

July 9, 2024, 9:05 p.m. ET

Michael Gold

Reporting from Doral, Fla.

The Biden campaign responded to Trump’s challenging Biden to a golf match, in a statement calling him “deranged” and mocking his absence from the campaign trail. “Joe Biden doesn’t have time for Donald Trump’s weird antics — he’s busy leading America and defending the free world,” a spokesman said.

As some allies whisper about ditching Biden, Black Democrats are rallying around him. (8)

July 9, 2024, 8:54 p.m. ET

July 9, 2024, 8:54 p.m. ET

Simon J. Levien

Reporting from Doral, Fla.

Donald Trump just shouted out his youngest son, Barron, from the stage. Barron, 18, has not been present on the campaign trail during his father’s third run for president, and a plan for him to serve as a delegate the Republican convention fizzled.

July 9, 2024, 8:39 p.m. ET

July 9, 2024, 8:39 p.m. ET

Michael Gold

Reporting from Doral, Fla.

Trump seems to be having a bit of fun with Marco Rubio amid all the running-mate speculation. After talking about his proposal to remove taxes on tips for service workers, he looked at Rubio and told him to back it. Then, he said, “Well, you may or may not be there to vote for it.”

July 9, 2024, 8:30 p.m. ET

July 9, 2024, 8:30 p.m. ET

Michael Gold

Reporting from Doral, Fla.

With President Biden attending a NATO summit, Trump is reviving one of his favorite stories, in which he claims he successfully threatened NATO members into spending more on their defense by saying he would not defend them from Russian aggression if they did not do so. But he started the story by mispronouncing the name of the alliance, calling it “NAH-toe” instead of “NAY-toe.”

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July 9, 2024, 8:30 p.m. ET

July 9, 2024, 8:30 p.m. ET

Michael Gold

Reporting from Doral, Fla.

Donald Trump, in a kind of feint, pointed to the news media gathered in the press pen, then looked to Senator Marco Rubio and marveled at how many people there were. “I think they probably think that I will be announcing that Marco is vice president. Because that’s a lot of press.” And then, he immediately returned to his usual spiel about the economy.

July 9, 2024, 8:19 p.m. ET

July 9, 2024, 8:19 p.m. ET

Michael Gold

Reporting from Doral, Fla.

Even as Trump has been criticizing Kamala Harris more than usual — he has rarely acknowledged her in past rally speeches — he has repeatedly mispronounced her name.

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July 9, 2024, 8:16 p.m. ET

July 9, 2024, 8:16 p.m. ET

Shane Goldmacher

Trump accused Democrats of engaging in “the biggest cover-up in political history,” regarding President Biden’s cognitive abilities.

July 9, 2024, 8:15 p.m. ET

July 9, 2024, 8:15 p.m. ET

Michael Gold

Reporting from Doral, Fla.

Trump, who loves bestowing nicknames on his political opponents but often tries a few before they stick, made a point of spelling out his new epithet for Vice President Kamala Harris: “L-A-F-F-I-N-apostrophe Kamala,” he told the crowd in Doral, Fla.

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As some allies whisper about ditching Biden, Black Democrats are rallying around him. (15)

July 9, 2024, 8:15 p.m. ET

July 9, 2024, 8:15 p.m. ET

Simon J. Levien

Reporting from Doral, Fla.

Trump called Kamala Harris Biden’s “insurance policy.” He said that if Biden had a running mate who was “halfway-decent,” he would have already been replaced at the top of the Democratic ticket. Recent polling from CNN indicates that Harris outperformed Biden in hypothetical matchups with Trump.

July 9, 2024, 8:12 p.m. ET

July 9, 2024, 8:12 p.m. ET

Michael Gold

Reporting from Doral, Fla.

Donald Trump is now criticizing Kamala Harris, directly linking her to Biden policies he frequently criticizes, such as his handling of the border and his efforts to tackle climate change. The renewed focus is noteworthy: It comes as frenzied speculation has grown that Biden may step aside on the Democratic ticket.

July 9, 2024, 8:11 p.m. ET

July 9, 2024, 8:11 p.m. ET

Michael Gold

Reporting from Doral, Fla.

After Biden and Trump had a remarkably off-topic fight over their golf games during last month’s presidential debate, Trump just challenged Biden to a charity golf game here at his golf resort in Doral, where he’s holding his rally tonight.

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July 9, 2024, 8:11 p.m. ET

July 9, 2024, 8:11 p.m. ET

Michael Gold

Reporting from Doral, Fla.

Donald J. Trump, after a week with no public events, just took the stage at his rally and mocked Democrats for their infighting over whether President Biden should remain the nominee. Their party, he said, was “divided, in chaos and having a full-scale breakdown, all because they can’t decide which of their candidates is more unfit to be president.”

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As some allies whisper about ditching Biden, Black Democrats are rallying around him. (19)

July 9, 2024, 8:11 p.m. ET

July 9, 2024, 8:11 p.m. ET

Simon J. Levien

Reporting from Doral, Fla.

Trump added that he is offering Biden the “chance to redeem himself.” He offered to debate him this week.

July 9, 2024, 7:58 p.m. ET

July 9, 2024, 7:58 p.m. ET

Michael Gold

Reporting from Doral, Fla.

Donald J. Trump will spend a significant part of his speech at his rally tonight attacking Vice President Kamala Harris, according to excerpts of his prepared remarks provided by his campaign. As some Democrats call for President Biden to step off the ticket, Harris would be the most likely replacement, and the Trump campaign has been increasingly taking aim at her since the debate.

As some allies whisper about ditching Biden, Black Democrats are rallying around him. (21)

July 9, 2024, 7:58 p.m. ET

July 9, 2024, 7:58 p.m. ET

Simon J. Levien

Reporting from Doral, Fla.

What can only be described as a golf-cart motorcade departed the main building of Trump’s Doral resort heading to the rally venue across the golf course. Several hundred rallygoers got on their feet and raised their cameras in anticipation. Trump is set to speak soon.

July 9, 2024, 7:24 p.m. ET

July 9, 2024, 7:24 p.m. ET

Michael Gold

Reporting from Doral, Fla.

Donald J. Trump, who has for months relished the feverish speculation over whom he might choose as his running mate, just sent a fund-raising email before he takes the stage at a rally in Doral, Fla., in which he said he “might even introduce the next VP.” The campaign’s fund-raising emails often exaggerate, so it is hard to know how to evaluate the claim.

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July 9, 2024, 7:00 p.m. ET

July 9, 2024, 7:00 p.m. ET

Michael Gold

Reporting from Doral, Fla.

At the Trump rally in Doral, Fla., Representative Byron Donalds of Florida noted with glee the chaos that has engulfed House Democrats since the debate, then accused them of having “lied to the American people about Joe Biden’s ability” to be president.

July 9, 2024, 6:36 p.m. ET

July 9, 2024, 6:36 p.m. ET

Michael Gold

Reporting from Doral, Fla.

Senator Marco Rubio, one of the top contenders to be Trump’s running mate, spent some time in his speech at Trump’s rally in Doral, Fla., attacking Vice President Kamala Harris as “a real life verified left winger” and mocking her laugh. Being able to hold one’s own against the vice president in a potential debate is seen as a prerequisite for Trump’s partner on the ticket.

July 9, 2024, 6:02 p.m. ET

July 9, 2024, 6:02 p.m. ET

Michael D. Shear

If President Biden’s critics were expecting him to make a big stumble during the brief NATO speech, they were disappointed. Reading from a teleprompter, the president was more forceful and clear than he was during the Atlanta debate. That may be of little reassurance to some, however, who are still looking for evidence that he can handle high-pressure, unscripted moments. This was not one of them.

July 9, 2024, 6:00 p.m. ET

July 9, 2024, 6:00 p.m. ET

David E. Sanger

Reporting on the Biden administration

At the end of his remarks, Biden called the NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, to the stage, noting he has extended his service at the head of the alliance time and again. Biden awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States.

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As some allies whisper about ditching Biden, Black Democrats are rallying around him. (27)

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July 9, 2024, 4:46 p.m. ET

July 9, 2024, 4:46 p.m. ET

Neil Vigdor

A sailor who tried to access President Biden’s medical records was disciplined by the Navy.

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A Navy sailor was disciplined for trying unsuccessfully to gain unauthorized access to President Biden’s restricted medical records earlier this year, a military official said on Tuesday.

The attempted breach happened on Feb. 23, said Cmdr. Tim Hawkins, a Navy spokesman, who specified that the sailor involved was assigned to Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command at Fort Belvoir in Northern Virginia.

According to the Navy, the sailor, whom it did not identify, searched the name “Joseph Biden” three times in a military health system electronic database within a span of several hours “out of curiosity.” The disciplinary action was reported earlier by CBS News and ABC News.

Mr. Biden, 81, has faced a renewed bout of questions about his health and mental acuity after his June 27 debate performance, which has prompted a growing number of Democrats to call on him to end his re-election bid.

In the Navy incident, a co-worker of the sailor reported the potential violation of medical privacy laws, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service conducted an investigation that concluded on April 24, Commander Hawkins said.

“The record the sailor accessed was not the electronic record of the president of the United States,” Commander Hawkins said in an email, adding, “At no time was the president’s personal information compromised.”

The Navy declined to detail the disciplinary action it had taken.

The Biden campaign referred questions about the matter to the White House, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

In a race featuring the two oldest major-party nominees for president in history, neither Mr. Biden nor former President Donald J. Trump has given the public unfettered access to his medical charts.

In recent days, the Biden administration has faced questions about why an expert on Parkinson’s disease from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center visited the White House eight times in eight months, from last summer through this spring, including at least once for a meeting with Mr. Biden’s physician.

The visits by the expert, Dr. Kevin Cannard, a neurologist, were detailed in White House visitor logs.

Dr. Kevin O’Connor, the White House physician, said in a statement on Monday night that Mr. Biden had seen Dr. Cannard each year as part of his overall annual physical checkup and that the latest examination had found no sign of Parkinson’s.

Emily Baumgaertner and Peter Baker contributed reporting.

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July 8, 2024, 9:21 a.m. ET

July 8, 2024, 9:21 a.m. ET

Robert Jimison

Reporting from Washington

As some allies whisper about ditching Biden, Black Democrats are rallying around him.

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As President Biden watches his support among some key Democrats in Congress quietly crumble, one group has emerged as a vocal base of support on Capitol Hill: Black lawmakers, particularly older ones.

While most elected Democrats have avoided publicly weighing in on Mr. Biden’s fate and many have privately expressed skepticism that he can remain the party’s candidate after a disastrous debate performance, the leader and senior members of the Congressional Black Caucus have filled the void with full-throated expressions of support.

It is reminiscent of how Black Democrats rallied behind Mr. Biden to help propel him to his primary victory in 2020. It also speaks to a broader racial and generational divide in the party that could be consequential in determining how it moves forward from the president’s current crisis.

More than a dozen Black Democrats in both the House and Senate have begun to offer a strong defense of him, even as their colleagues whisper in increasingly urgent tones about pushing him aside.

On Monday, Representative Steven Horsford of Nevada, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus who is facing a tough battle for re-election, released a statement expressing support for the president.

“President Joe Biden is the nominee and has been selected by millions of voters across this country, including voters here in Nevada,” he wrote, adding that voters know that “President Biden and Vice President Harris are fighting for them.”

His public support came shortly after Mr. Biden sent a letter to congressional Democrats in which he again defied calls from some to step aside, writing that he was “firmly committed to staying in the race.”

Other veteran Black members of Congress have loudly proclaimed their backing for Mr. Biden in recent days.

“The choice for American leadership and our democracy is clear,” Representative Joyce Beatty of Ohio, a former chairwoman of the Black Caucus, said in a social media post late Sunday in which she lauded Mr. Biden’s record as a defender of democracy.

“I don’t care what anybody says — it ain’t going to be no other Democratic candidate,” Representative Maxine Waters of California told audiences at the Essence festival in New Orleans over the weekend. “It’s going to be Biden.”

Ms. Waters was also one of the few top Democrats who spoke up for the president during a high-level virtual meeting on Sunday in which several ranking members of major committees privately said he needed to withdraw from the race, according to people who attended and were briefed on the session. Representative David Scott of Georgia, another senior member of the Black Caucus, also spoke in favor of Mr. Biden, the people said.

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The Biden campaign has taken solace in the backing it has received from Black Democrats, an influential force on Capitol Hill and in the party, at an otherwise grim time. On Monday evening, Mr. Biden met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus in a private virtual meeting where he called on the group to continue supporting his candidacy, according to a participant in the private meeting who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

During the session, the participant said, Mr. Biden expressed deep gratitude to those who have stood by him throughout pivotal points in his political career, including now, and called on members not to abandon him with the threat of another Donald J. Trump presidency looming.

Over roughly 30 minutes, Mr. Biden laid out how another four years of the Biden administration would uplift and support the Black community and the middle class, highlighting policies to help families with elder care and rising health care costs.

Roughly 40 to 50 members joined the virtual meeting, and a number expressed support for the president, including Representative James E. Clyburn, Democrat of South Carolina and the co-chairman of Mr. Biden’s re-election campaign. According to the participant, no one expressed any doubts about his candidacy.

Mr. Clyburn’s comments to colleagues Monday evening echoed his remarks earlier in the day when he combated calls for the president to resign.

Younger Black lawmakers have been slower to offer their backing for Mr. Biden, staying mostly silent. And the highest-ranking Black Democrat in Congress, Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the minority leader, has stayed quieter. Days after the debate last month, he said Mr. Biden was poised to make a “comeback” after an “underwhelming” performance, and he reiterated on Monday that he was backing the president.

But Mr. Jeffries has done little to tamp down on what appears to be a groundswell of sentiment within his ranks in favor of replacing Mr. Biden at the top of the ticket. He did not speak up during the high-level private meeting on Sunday — which was billed as a listening session — to try to defend the president or rally Democrats around salvaging his candidacy, and he gave no indication to lawmakers about whether he believed Mr. Biden should continue in the race.

Still, Mr. Biden has leaned on his support among Black voters as he seeks to recover from the crisis. He chose a Black church in Philadelphia on Sunday as his backdrop to make the case for staying in the race.

“I’ve been doing this a long time, and I’ve honest to God never been more optimistic about America’s future — if we stick together,” Mr. Biden told the congregation at Mount Airy Church of God in Christ.

As some allies whisper about ditching Biden, Black Democrats are rallying around him. (2024)
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