Only ‘the Lord Almighty’ could convince Biden to drop out. What else did he tell ABC?

President Joe Biden tried to calm party panic in his first television interview Friday, responding to some Democrats’ calls for him to drop out of the 2024 race after his debate performance against former President Donald Trump on June 27.

Biden brushed off concerns about his health and remained defiant, saying only “the Lord Almighty” could convince him to drop out in his sit-down with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. When Stephanopoulos asked Biden about his low poll numbers and approval ratings, Biden rejected them, saying he believes they are not accurate.

“I don’t think anyone is more qualified to be president and win this race than me,” Biden said.

He acknowledged he had a “bad night” and said he was “exhausted” during the first of two presidential debates, adding he alone was accountable for his poor performance. The interview follows a week of growing pressure for him to step aside and make way for another Democratic nominee.

Within his party, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., is working to organize a group of senators to ask Biden to exit the race, and Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey called for Biden to reevaluate his campaign. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said it is valid for people to question if he is fit for office after the debate.

More: ‘I’m the nominee’: Biden calls out Democrats pushing for him to withdraw from election

“Your friend Nancy Pelosi actually framed the question that I think is on the minds of millions of Americans: Was this a bad episode or the sign of a more serious condition?” Stephanopoulos asked.

“It was a bad episode,” Biden said. “No indication of any serious condition. I was exhausted. I didn’t listen to my instincts in terms of preparing.”

His campaign attributed his raspy voice during the debate to a cold. On Tuesday, Biden blamed jet lag from overseas travel, saying he “nearly fell asleep” onstage. But Biden had been in the country and preparing for the event for 12 days. In the interview Friday, he said it wasn’t enough time to recover because he had a “really bad cold.”

“I was feeling terrible,” Biden said.

The interview took place in Madison, Wisconsin, after Biden held a campaign rally where he vowed to remain in the race and beat Trump. After the interview and before boarding Air Force One, Biden said he was “completely ruling that out” when a reporter asked if he was considering dropping out.

Read the full transcription of Biden’s ABC News interview below:

Rachel Barber is a 2024 election fellow at USA TODAY, focusing on politics and education. Follow her on X, formerly Twitter, as @rachelbarber_

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Transcript: What Biden said in ABC interview after first 2024 debate

Leave a Reply