Rep. Angie Craig calls on Biden to drop out of 2024 presidential race

EAGAN, Minn. — Rep. Angie Craig of Minnesota became the latest House Democrat to call on President Biden to end his campaign for a second term after his shaky debate performance last week and what she called a “lack of a forceful response.”

“This is not a decision I’ve come to lightly, but there is simply too much at stake to risk a second Donald Trump presidency,” Craig said in a statement Saturday morning. “That’s why I respectfully call on President Biden to step aside as the Democratic nominee for a second term as President and allow for a new generation of leaders to step forward.”

Craig — who represents Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District that encompasses the southern portion of the Twin Cities metro and communities such as Lakeville, Eagan, and Northfield — is one of five House Democrats to call on Mr. Biden to step aside. Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas was the first Democratic lawmaker to call on Mr. Biden to drop out of the race, followed by Reps. Raul Grijalva, Seth Moulton and Mike Quigley. 

In an interview with CBS News Friday night, Quigley said that Mr. Biden’s post-debate comments have not allayed his concerns. 

“Now is the time to be candid with ourselves. I appreciate loyalty. This isn’t about loyalty, this is pragmatic politics to avoid a second Trump term.

Craig said in her statement that she has “great respect” for the president, but after watching the debate “coupled with the lack of forceful response from the president himself following that debate, I do not believe that the president can effectively campaign and win against Donald Trump.”

Mr. Biden, who is 81, has worked for the past week to assuage concerns from voters and members of his own party about his fitness for a second term. He has repeatedly vowed that he will stay in the race, despite several new polls showing him falling significantly behind former President Donald Trump both nationwide and in battleground states. 

But in her statement, Craig said that “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.” 

On Wednesday evening Mr. Biden met with a coalition of Democratic governors to quell their concerns following his lackluster debate performance. Afterwards, Gov. Tim Walz of Minnesota said Mr. Biden was “fit for office” and pledged his support.

Mr. Biden made a campaign stop in the battleground state of Wisconsin on Friday, and reiterated that he won’t be forced out as the Democratic presidential nominee. 

And in an interview with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos Friday, the president insisted the debate was a “bad episode” and that he was “feeling terrible” from a cold. He added that the only thing that might persuade him he could lose to Trump is if the “Lord Almighty” came down and told him so.

Following the debate, the University of Virginia’s “Sabato’s Crystal Ball,” a key election forecaster, shifted Minnesota from “likely Democratic” in this presidential race to “lean Democratic,” in a sign that the state is more competitive than it was four years ago. 

David Schultz, a political science and legal studies professor at Hamline University in St. Paul, told CBS Minnesota Saturday he was “both surprised and not surprised at the same time” by Craig’s move. 

Schultz noted that Craig represents a critical swing district. Moderate Democrats on ballots across the country are concerned Mr. Biden’s presence on the ticket could hurt their own chances of reelection, he said.

Schultz sees pressure continuing to build for Mr. Biden to step down.

“If he keeps resisting that, that’s going to cause more chaos and more division in the party,” Schultz said.

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