Biden campaigns in Pennsylvania as Democrats discuss his candidacy

Biden campaigns in Pennsylvania as Democrats discuss his candidacy

US President Joe Biden campaigns in Pennsylvania despite rising Democratic pressure to end re-election bid after weak debate performance.

United States President Joe Biden is on a campaign trail in the critical swing state of Pennsylvania as he fights to save his endangered re-election effort following a June 27 disastrous debate performance against his rival Donald Trump.

Biden, 81, has vowed to stay in the race and win the November 5 presidential election, despite growing calls from fellow Democrats to end his campaign.

On Sunday, Biden attended a predominantly Black Mount Airy Church of God in Christ in northwest Philadelphia, where he entered the gold-chandeliered sanctuary to applause and a cry of “Let him know we are with him!”

Later in the day, he will travel to the nearby state capital, Harrisburg, for an ice cream social event with union members and local Democrats, his campaign said on Sunday.

This is Biden’s 10th visit to Pennsylvania during the 2024 election cycle. On Saturday, he spoke with the national co-chairs of his campaign, the White House said, without providing any details.

In a taped interview with news anchor George Stephanopoulos, which aired on Friday evening, Biden said only the “Lord Almighty” could persuade him to drop out, dismissing the prospect that Democratic leaders could join forces to try to talk him into standing down.

Despite his performance, Biden’s family has encouraged him to remain in the race.

Rising pressure to step down

The president is struggling to put down a slow-boil uprising among some congressional Democrats and some influential donors who fear he lacks the capacity to defeat Trump in light of the debate.

Pressure from the US Congress seems likely to ramp up in the coming days as lawmakers return to Washington from a holiday recess, and donors mull their willingness to keep funding his campaign.

Five US lawmakers have called for Biden to end his re-election bid, including Representative Angie Craig of Minnesota, the first Democratic member of the House of Representatives from a battleground district, with others reportedly poised to join in.

“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,” Craig, a top 2024 target of House Republican efforts, posted on X.

Two letters are circulating among House Democrats calling for Biden to step aside, House Democratic sources have said.

US Senator Mark Warner of Virginia was contacting some fellow Democratic senators to invite them to a possible meeting on Monday to discuss Biden’s campaign. Biden told reporters he had spoken with 20 congressional Democrats, who urged him to stay on, and said he knew of no senators ready to join Warner.

The political crisis is also unfolding as Biden prepares to host dozens of world leaders at a high-stakes NATO summit in Washington on Tuesday and hold a rare solo news conference.

The trip to Pennsylvania is part of a July voter outreach blitz by the Democratic Party that includes a $50m paid media campaign aimed at events such as the Olympic Games and travel by Biden, his wife, Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband to every battleground state.

The campaign said it aims to have volunteers and staff knock on more than three million voters’ doors in July and August.



Al Jazeera and news agencies

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