Hakeem Jeffries to bring Democrats' concerns to Biden about his campaign by Friday

Hakeem Jeffries to bring Democrats’ concerns to Biden about his campaign by Friday

House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries plans to convey the growing concerns of his caucus about President Biden’s campaign directly to the president, an aide to Jeffries confirmed. When asked how or when, the aide would only offer, “by Friday.”

As he exited the House floor Wednesday, Jeffries said, “We are continuing to have candid and clear-eyed conversations with the House Democratic Caucus throughout the week, and that is the focus of our activity today, tomorrow, and we’ll see where we go from there.” Politico first reported Jeffries’ plan to approach the president.

Jeffries’s plans come as the number of House Democrats publicly calling on Mr. Biden to relinquish his place on the ticket has now risen to eight, with the addition of Rep. Pat Ryan, of New York, who said he’s “asking Joe Biden to step aside” in the upcoming election to “deliver on his promise to be a bridge to a new generation of leaders.

The Democratic leader described his conversations with colleagues as “a family discussion,” and when asked whether Mr. Biden is a part of that family, Jeffries responded, “We are a separate and co-equal branch of government. We have the right and the responsibility on behalf of all the people that we represent, to have these conversations with ourselves about the path forward in the best interests of the American people.” 

One source said that part of the impetus to wrap up the conversations this week is that House members will be in their districts and traveling next week. 

Democratic congressional aides said there is no plan for top Biden advisers to meet with House Democrats, though senators will be hearing from them Thursday. Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal said Wednesday she’s still expecting a Biden meeting for her group, and she expects to get details this week on time and date.

The chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Rep. Judy Chu, said Tuesday her group has requested a meeting or call with the president, similar to one he joined with the Congressional Black Caucus and is likely to do with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. She hasn’t received a response yet.

Though the president told congressional Democrats in a letter this week that he’s “firmly committed” to running, some Democrats in Congress are still suggesting he faces a decision about continuing his campaign and that his future on the ticket remains an open question.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, when asked Wednesday morning whether he has her support to lead the ticket, deferred to Mr. Biden, saying that “it’s up to the president” to decide if he’s going to run.

“We’re all encouraging him to make that decision,” she said on MSNBC. “Because time is running short.”

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