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Four senior House Democrats say Biden should leave presidential race, sources say

Cordes: "Fear is contagious" for Capitol Hill lawmakers
Biden campaign enters critical phase as Capitol Hill returns: "Fear is contagious" 10:17

Washington — Several senior House Democrats said Sunday that President Biden should end his reelection campaign in the wake of his recent debate performance, multiple people tell CBS News.

Reps. Jerry Nadler of New York, Mark Takano of California, Adam Smith of Washington and Joe Morelle of New York said Sunday during a Zoom meeting with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries that Mr. Biden should leave the race, according to a person on the call and three other people familiar with the meeting. 

Reps. Jim Himes of Connecticut, Don Beyer of Virginia and Jamie Raskin of Maryland also expressed skepticism of the president's electoral chances, the member on the call and a person familiar with the meeting said. 

Beyer's office on Sunday reaffirmed his support for Mr. Biden, despite initial reports suggesting that he was part of the group calling on the president to step aside. After news of the call was published, Beyer also issued a statement saying he supported Mr. Biden.

"I support the Biden-Harris ticket, and look forward to helping defeat Donald Trump in November," Beyer said. "I was proud to host an event this week in Northern Virginia with the President, and will continue doing all I can to support the Biden-Harris campaign in Virginia and across the country."  

CBS News has reached out to all the members who sources say either expressed reservations about the president's chances or said he should withdraw from the race.

A spokesperson for Jeffries declined to comment on the call. 

Rep. Susan Wild, who represents Pennsylvania's 7th Congressional District, said in a statement that she "expressed the same concerns that Americans across the country are grappling with, about President Biden's electability at the top of the ticket." 

"It is not helpful to the country for this difficult process to play out amidst leaks and rumors," Wild said. "The Democratic Caucus in Congress is a very diverse group, and there are many opinions about what should next happen. For that reason, I've always felt it important that people are able to speak their minds in a confidential setting, so that we can all benefit from what others are thinking. In the coming days and weeks, I will operate as I always have, continuing to have these important conversations while keeping the best interests of my constituents at the forefront of every decision and statement I make."

Rep. Richard Neal, of Massachusetts, said in a statement, "The bottom line is President Biden beat Trump in 2020, and now, bolstered by his historic record of success, he'll do it again in November. Trump is a lying, convicted felon who has only ever been out for himself, and the American people know that. As I shared earlier, Republicans are the biggest threat to the health of our democracy, our economy, and the people, and the President knows what's at stake. I'm with him all the way, fighting like hell to defeat those threats."  

President Biden Arrives In Harrisburg For Campaign Event
U.S. President Joe Biden prepares to disembark Air Force One as he arrives at Harrisburg International Airport on July 07, 2024 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  Michael M Santiago/Getty Images

The meeting came after House Democratic leaders convened a call last week amid a slow leak of Democratic lawmakers who have called for him to step aside. On Saturday, Rep. Angie Craig, who represents a frontline district in Minnesota, became the latest House Democrat to call for the president to withdraw from the race. And the attention is expected to be on the president's support in Congress as lawmakers return from recess this week. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Biden has appeared defiant in recent days, making clear that he plans to stay in the race despite concern from some members of his party. When asked during an interview with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos on Friday whether he would step down if there were calls from the party's leaders in Congress, Mr. Biden brushed the question aside, saying "they're not going to do that."

The president said he had an hour-long conversation with Jeffries and had spent "many hours" with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. The president also convened a meeting at the White House with Democratic governors last week. 

"If the Lord almighty came down and said 'Joe, get out of the race,' I'd get out of the race," the president said. "The Lord almighty's not coming down."

Meanwhile, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner scrapped a Monday meeting with a group of Senate Democrats to discuss the president's bid, a source familiar with the senator's thinking confirmed to CBS News. 

Fin Gómez contributed reporting.

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