‘I’m pleading’: Top House Democrat Adam Smith calls on President Joe Biden to end candidacy

‘I’m pleading’: Top House Democrat Adam Smith calls on President Joe Biden to end candidacy

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WASHINGTON — The top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee on Monday called on President Joe Biden to end his candidacy after his “alarming” debate performance.

The statement makes Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., one of the most senior Democratic lawmakers to demand that Biden leave the race and allow the party to nominate a new candidate. The strongly worded message adds to a growing chorus of concern among Democrats about Biden’s fitness for office and the need for a new candidate capable of beating former president Donald Trump.

“That candidate must be able to clearly, articulately, and strongly make his or her case to the American people,” Smith said in statement. “It is clear that President Biden is no longer able to meet this burden.”

“I’m pleading with him − take a step back,” Smith said in an interview with CNN. “Look at what’s best for the party, look at what’s best for the country.”

Earlier Monday, Biden told his critics to forget it, both in a letter to congressional Democrats and during a telephone interview on Morning Joe. “If any of these guys don’t think I should run, run against me. Announce they’re (running for) president,” he told the MSNBC show. “Challenge me at the convention.”

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Smith urged Biden to step down as soon as possible to allow the new candidate time to make his or her case to American voters. Biden’s debate performance and failure to address concerns about his fitness have damaged his credibility in voters’ eyes, Smith said.

“The President’s performance in the debate was alarming to watch and the American people have made it clear they no longer see him as a credible candidate to serve four more years as President,” Smith said. “Since the debate the President has not seriously addressed these concerns.

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“This is unacceptable. The stakes are simply too high. Donald Trump and MAGA extremism pose an existential threat to our nation, and we need to be in the strongest possible position to win in this election.”     

Despite his statement, Smith pledged to support Biden if he remains in the race. Biden remains a far better choice that Trump, he said. “If he gets the nomination, I’m all in,” he said.

Still, he stressed that Biden running is, in his view, the wrong move.

“If the President continues his campaign, it would be a mistake,” Smith said. “He should step aside now so that we can find a new candidate that will put us in the strongest possible position to beat Donald Trump in November.”

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