MICHAEL BENNETT: First Democratic Senator to Question Biden’s Nomination

The first Democratic senator publicly questioned President Joe Biden’s reelection chances, with seven congressmen urging the 81-year-old to step aside.

Senator Michael Bennett told CNN he expected President Donald Trump to lose in a “landslide” but stopped short of ending his candidacy.

Questions have been raised about Mr Biden’s eligibility for the post after he fumbled in a presidential debate against Mr Trump late last month.

The president insists he can beat his opponent and continues to gain support among key allies after congressional Democrats met to discuss his leadership on Tuesday.

  • author, James Fitzgerald
  • stock, BBC News

As the US president hosts a gathering of world leaders this week for a NATO military summit, the issue of Ukraine aid is in an even brighter light on the table.

He is expected to face intense global scrutiny when he delivers a press conference at a meeting in Washington on Thursday afternoon.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer repeated the message in a brief briefing to reporters after congressional debates on Tuesday: “I’m with Joe.”

Others have emphasized the importance of party unity. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s World Tonight programme, Hank Johnson, a congressman from Georgia, said it was “time to break the firing squad” around Mr Biden.

Mr. Johnson is an influential member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Admitting Mr Biden had a “terrible” debate with Trump, he said a majority of voters of color wanted him as their nominee.

On Tuesday, Mr Biden delivered brief but raucous remarks to open a NATO summit, declaring the alliance “more powerful than ever”. Observers said he struck a markedly different tone to his stuttering performance in the June 27 debate.

video title, WATCH: US President Joe Biden Addresses NATO Summit

But elsewhere, disagreements continue to sprout.

After congressional Democrats emerged from their private talks, some chose to speak to reporters, talking about Mr. Biden’s record in the White House or about Democratic unity.

But on the same day, a seventh House Democrat – Mickey Sherrill of New Jersey – publicly called on Mr Biden not to seek re-election, saying the stakes were “too high”.

He joined other dissenting voices in Congress, including Adam Smith, who told the BBC earlier this week that the party needed to install a “strong ambassador” as its candidate.

In his comments to CNN, Mr Bennett said the question of whether to continue in the race was “something for the president to consider”. But, he said, Trump “is on track to win this election, probably by a landslide.”

The Colorado Democrat framed the issue as “a moral question about the future of our country.”

Two other senators were told by CNN that they believe Mr Biden will never win the White House again, although neither has publicly broken ranks.

On the same day, George Stephanopoulos, a former Democratic operative turned ABC News anchor who interviewed Mr Biden last week, said he did not think the president “could serve four more years”.

Audio was captured by TMZ of Mr Stephanopoulos making the comment to a passerby.

Although Mr Stephanopoulos did not retract the comment, he later admitted he should not have made it.

Mr Biden is said to be facing skepticism from diplomats visiting Washington for a NATO meeting, one of whom told Reuters on condition of anonymity that he could not see himself in office for another four years.

As the debate continues — and the White House faces questions about its approach to releasing information about Mr. Biden’s health — speculation continues to grow about who will replace Mr. Biden if he chooses to step down.

Vice President Kamala Harris, despite her continued vocal support for the president, is gaining few high-profile supporters. During a rally in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Ms Harris insisted her boss was a “fighter”.

Despite admitting he had “turned around” in the Trump debate, Mr Biden dared his skeptics to challenge him or rally behind his candidacy.

Her performance in the head-to-head was mocked by her rival, who suggested Ms Harris would be an “excellent” contender for the White House.

But in his latest comments on the matter, Trump said he expects his opponent to stay in the race: “He has an ego and he doesn’t want to leave.”

video title, Biden is the answer to many more Democratic lawmakers

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