Biden defiant as America reacts to make-or-break TV interview – live

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Good morning,

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Joe Biden is still fighting for his political life. On Friday, the president was defiant in a make-or-break TV interview on ABC, insisting that only “the Lord almighty” could persuade him to exit the US presidential race.

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At a rally in Wisconsin, also on Friday, Biden again insisted he wasn’t going anywhere, and dismissed concerns about his age. “We’ve also noticed a lot of discussion about my age,” said Biden. “Let me say something. I wasn’t too old to create over 50m new jobs.”

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It remains unclear whether all this will be enough to assuage Democratic lawmakers, donors and voters who are calling on him to step down after a disastrous performance at the first presidential debate and a series of gaffes and news reports that have called into question his fitness to serve another term. The coming days, during which Biden has a packed schedule of rallies in swing states, will be crucial to his re-election bid.

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Follow along here for the latest developments.

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  • Here are key takeaways from the high-stakes ABC TV interview.

  • \n

  • Pressed by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on what he would do if friends and supporters expressed concern that his candidacy would cost Democrats the House of Representatives and Senate, Biden replied: “I’m not going to answer that question. It’s not going to happen.

  • \n

  • Millions are pinning their hopes on the Democratic party as the last wall of defence against Donald Trump’s threat of an “imperial presidency”, The Guardian’s Washington DC bureau chief David Smith writes. Instead the Democratic party is offering 81-year-old Joe Biden and an internal civil war.

  • \n

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Key events

Representative Angie Craig, a Democrat of Minnesota, is among the latest to call on Biden to exit the presidential race.

“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 Saturday morning.

Craig represents a swing district in suburban Minneapolis-St. Paul. Some Democrats are concerned that Biden’s flailing candidacy could drag down House and Senate candidates down ballot.

“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. “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.”

She called for “an open, fair, and transparent Democratic process to select a new nominee”.

Robert Tait

Robert Tait

Congressional Democrats are to hold an emergency weekend meeting to discuss Joe Biden’s tottering presidential candidacy after a prime time television interview failed to dispel doubts triggered by last week’s debate fiasco.

Hakeem Jeffries, the Democrats’ leader in the House of Representatives, scheduled the meeting for Sunday even as Biden struck a defiant posture in Friday’s interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.

In a 22-minute interview from a school library in Wisconsin aired in full, the president brushed off his miserable debate display as “a bad night” and insisted he would only withdraw his candidacy if the “Lord Almighty” ordered it.

But his obstinate posture only reinforced those Democrats who had already publicly urged him to quit the race, while others were privately infuriated by his seemingly insouciant attitude to the prospect of defeat at the hands of Donald Trump in November’s election.

Asked by Stephanopoulos how we feel if he had to turn the presidency back to an opponent he and his party loathe, the president said: “I’ll feel as long as I gave it my all and I did the goodest job as I know I can do, that’s what this is about.”

The response seemed to minimise the consequences of handing over power to a rival who tried to overturn the results of the 2020, incited a mob to attack the US Capitol and vowed to seek “retribution” on his opponents if he won again, a threat that has unnerved many Democrats.

The convening of Democrat House members by Jeffries followed a similar move even before Friday’s interview by senator Mark Warner of Virginia, who called on fellow senators from his party to meet to discuss Biden’s candidacy. Warner has been reported to be leading an effort by senate Democrats urging the president to stand aside.

Robert Tait

Robert Tait

History may record them as eight days that sunk a presidency, or at least the rockiest road to a convention in living memory – a week that has left Joe Biden’s re-election bid hanging by a thread.

Here’s a timeline:

Jessica Glenza

Jessica Glenza

On Friday, high-profile neurosurgeon Dr Sanjay Gupta called on Biden to undergo neurological testing and release the results to the public, saying he and other brain specialists believe a detailed cognitive exam is warranted.

“From a neurological standpoint, we were concerned with his confused rambling; sudden loss of concentration in the middle of a sentence; halting speech and absence of facial animation, resulting at times in a flat, open-mouthed expression,” Gupta wrote for CNN.

Gupta qualified that his suggestion was based on “only observations, not in any way diagnostic of something deeper”. He continued that “the president should be encouraged to undergo detailed cognitive and movement disorder testing, and those results should be made available to the public”.

One of the things Biden will have been hoping to get out of the ABC interview is stemming the flow of top Democratic donors from deserting him, write The Guardian’s Jonathan Yerushalmy and Callum Jones:

On Friday, media tycoon Barry Diller, when asked by the Ankler if he and his wife, the designer Diane von Fürstenberg, were holding firm with Biden’s campaign, he replied: “No.”

Diller, previously a key financial backer of Hillary Clinton’s ill-fated 2016 campaign, has already donated more than $100,000 to Biden and the Democrats this time around.

Diller followed Abigail Disney – the heir to the Disney family fortune and a major party donor – who said on Thursday she would withhold donations unless Biden dropped out of the race.

And earlier in the week Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings joined calls for Biden to take himself out of the presidential race. Screenwriter Damon Lindelof, who has been a significant contributor to the party, proposed on Wednesday a “DEMbargo”, withholding funding until Biden stands aside.

Biden defiant as he fights for his political life

Good morning,

Joe Biden is still fighting for his political life. On Friday, the president was defiant in a make-or-break TV interview on ABC, insisting that only “the Lord almighty” could persuade him to exit the US presidential race.

At a rally in Wisconsin, also on Friday, Biden again insisted he wasn’t going anywhere, and dismissed concerns about his age. “We’ve also noticed a lot of discussion about my age,” said Biden. “Let me say something. I wasn’t too old to create over 50m new jobs.”

It remains unclear whether all this will be enough to assuage Democratic lawmakers, donors and voters who are calling on him to step down after a disastrous performance at the first presidential debate and a series of gaffes and news reports that have called into question his fitness to serve another term. The coming days, during which Biden has a packed schedule of rallies in swing states, will be crucial to his re-election bid.

Follow along here for the latest developments.

  • Here are key takeaways from the high-stakes ABC TV interview.

  • Pressed by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on what he would do if friends and supporters expressed concern that his candidacy would cost Democrats the House of Representatives and Senate, Biden replied: “I’m not going to answer that question. It’s not going to happen.

  • Millions are pinning their hopes on the Democratic party as the last wall of defence against Donald Trump’s threat of an “imperial presidency”, The Guardian’s Washington DC bureau chief David Smith writes. Instead the Democratic party is offering 81-year-old Joe Biden and an internal civil war.

The Guardian

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