• Thursday, July 25, 2024


Biden gears up for US Independence Day events amid growing pressure to quit race

Pressure from within his own Democratic party to step aside is mounting, with increasing support for vice president Kamala Harris to assume his role in the November election.

US president Joe Biden and vice president Kamala Harris at a Democratic Party event. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

AS US president Joe Biden withstands calls to halt his re-election bid following a lacklustre presidential debate against Republican opponent Donald Trump last week, he is set to undergo intense scrutiny in upcoming public appearances that may shape his political destiny.

Pressure from within his own Democratic party to step aside is mounting, with increasing support for vice president Kamala Harris to assume his role in the November election. Nonetheless, Biden’s supporters remain confident that the 81-year-old can prove his vigour and mental sharpness to both voters and donors alike.

Amid the intensifying political drama, the veteran leader was set to host families at the annual Independence Day festivities on Thursday (4) at the White House, followed by an interview to ABC News on Friday (5). He will also travel to Wisconsin the same day for a campaign rally with several supporters.

Read: What if ‘fumbling & mumbling’ Joe Biden leaves US election race

On Sunday (7), Biden and first lady Jill will address thousands at the National Education Association in Pennsylvania. In the following week, he will convene with numerous world leaders at the NATO summit in Washington and conduct a rare solo news conference.

Biden, who is eyeing a second term, is already the oldest president the US has ever had.

As the octogenarian prepares for a hectic schedule ahead of the November 5 election, dozens of Democratic leaders in the House are keeping a close watch and could ask Biden to give way if he falters in the ABC interview that will be broadcast on Friday evening, Reuters reported citing a source.

Read: Democrats anxious after Biden’s ‘shaky’ debate with Trump

The upcoming series of closely monitored events underscores Biden’s altered circumstances since the June 27 debate. Even if he remains verbally and physically steady during the interview, doubts about his candidacy are expected to persist. But if he shows verbal stumbles or signs of confusion, the pressure on him to exit the race will undoubtedly increase.

Some former supporters have asked Biden to step aside to preserve his legacy and reduce chances of Trump getting his second presidency. The time to take a decision is slipping away and the Democrats have to take a call soon.

In recent days, the president and his senior officials have conducted multiple calls with campaign and White House staff to boost morale and affirm his commitment to staying in the race.

Meanwhile, key Democrats, including close allies, have hinted at the possibility of vice president Harris leading the Democratic ticket.

Addressing concerns about Biden’s performance during the debate, the White House has reiterated that the former was dealing with a cold and jet lag on the debate night.

According to spokesperson Andrew Bates, Biden consulted a doctor after the debate, which took place on Thursday.

“Several days later, the president was seen to check on his cold and was recovering well,” he said.

After the Atlanta debate, Biden’s fragile position in opinion polls vis-à-vis Trump was slightly weakened. However, a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll indicated that this week, the president has drawn level with Trump, highlighting a close race.

In the two-day poll ending on Tuesday (2), both Biden and Trump garnered 40 per cent support among registered voters. This marks a shift from a previous Reuters/Ipsos poll held on June 11-12, which showed Trump narrowly leading by two percentage points at 41 per cent to 39 per cent.

(With Reuters inputs)

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