Congressional Democrats respond to Biden’s interview with ABC News

Written by on July 6, 2024

(WASHINGTON) — After days of panic and concern, Democrats across the country were on edge watching George Stephanopoulos’ interview with President Joe Biden Friday night.

And a fifth congressional Democrat joined in the call for Biden to step aside from the ticket.

In Biden’s first sit-down interview since last week’s debate against former President Donald Trump, the president acknowledged the debate was a “bad episode,” but pushed back strongly against broader questions about his age and mental fitness.

While the president vowed to keep running, several Democrats on Capitol Hill expressed concern.

“One interview is not going to change the perception — we need more than 22 minutes — people have got to know he has the stamina to do the job and right now there are still concerns,” one Democratic representative expressed to ABC News. Adding, the “aftermath” of the debate has been just as bad as the debate night itself, with the president waiting too long to do an interview and call leaders.

Speaking on “ABC News Live” just moments after the interview aired, Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois expressed what signaled his openness to replace Biden as the nominee.

“Look, I think there’s growing concern,” Quigley said, “I think this is going to be an intense week in D.C., never mind all the critical issues that are taking place on the floor and in the country and the world … The political realm is going to go into hyperdrive this week.”

Quigley became the fourth House Democrat to openly call for Biden to step aside, which he said was a “painful” decision. Quigley joined Reps. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, and Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz.

Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., released a statement Saturday morning calling on the president to step aside and not run for re-election.

“Given what I saw and heard from the President during last week’s debate in Atlanta, coupled with the lack of a forceful response from the President himself following that debate, I do not believe that the President can effectively campaign and win against Donald Trump,” she said.

Craig praised Biden for his accomplishments as president but ultimately said there was too much at stake.

“If we truly believe that Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans must be stopped, there is only a small window left to make sure we have a candidate best equipped to make the case and win. This future of our country is bigger than any one of us. It’s up to the President from here,” she said.

Another Democrat on Capitol Hill told ABC News that Biden’s interview with Stephanopoulos was “Better, but not sure it’s enough.”

Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, Biden’s home state, quickly came to the president’s defense after the interview, saying on X, “I can’t wait to help him continue to take the fight to Trump and win in November.”

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries is set to hold a virtual meeting with House Democratic ranking committee members on Sunday afternoon, multiple sources told ABC News on Friday.

The president is expected to be the focus of the meeting, which would come a day before members return to Washington on Monday night as a handful of members have already called for him to step aside.

One senior Dem aide told ABC News Biden should “buckle up for a wild week” ahead.

The White House quickly reacted to Biden’s determination to stay in the race. One senior official told ABC News, “It’s clear that the voters on the ground are encouraging Biden to stay in and that he’s the best to take on Donald Trump.”

A Biden campaign adviser told ABC News the interview was “solid.”

The president has a busy few days coming up with a few campaign events in Philadelphia on Sunday and hosting the NATO summit next week.

ABC News’ Selina Wang, Will Steakin, John Parkinson and Ben Siegel contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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