Welch Calls for Biden to Withdraw From Presidential Race | Politics | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Welch Calls for Biden to Withdraw From Presidential Race


Published July 10, 2024 at 8:09 p.m.

U.S. Sen. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) - FILE: JAMES BUCK
  • File: James Buck
  • U.S. Sen. Peter Welch (D-Vt.)
Updated on July 11, 2024.

U.S. Sen. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) has called for President Joe Biden to withdraw from the presidential race, saying the stakes are too high and Biden has been damaged by his "disastrous" debate with Donald Trump.

Welch made his case in an opinion piece published in the Washington Post on Wednesday evening. Vermont's junior senator, Welch is the first Democratic senator to call for Biden to withdraw.

He wrote that he had “great respect” for Biden, calling him “one of the best presidents of our time.” But in a race that could not be more important, he added, “we cannot unsee President Biden’s disastrous debate performance.”

“For the good of the country, I’m calling on President Biden to withdraw from the race,” he wrote.

On Thursday afternoon, the senator told Seven Days that he was not swayed during a meeting that he and other Democratic senators had just held with top Biden aides.

Biden's fitness has been publicly discussed since he and Trump debated two weeks ago. The president's poor performance stunned Democrats who have been talking about whether he should drop out of the race ever since. Some have floated the idea of running Vice President Kamala Harris in the top spot this November.

Welch said last week that Biden's campaign needed to do better to address concerns about the president. He pointed to a memo by Biden’s deputy campaign manager Rob Flaherty that mocked people calling for the president to drop out of the race as the “bedwetting brigade.”
“I really do criticize the campaign for a dismissive attitude towards people who are raising questions for discussion," Welch told the news site Semafor. "That’s just facing the reality that we’re in.”

The day after the debate, Welch told Seven Days that the campaign needed to reassure voters.

“The president’s challenge was not so much to articulate his values or his accomplishments. He’s on solid ground there,” Welch said. “It was to address the age issue, and he intensified rather than alleviated apprehensions about that.”

The Post piece makes it clear that Welch does not believe Democrats' concerns have been effectively addressed.

"States that were once strongholds are now leaning Republican," he wrote. “Vermont loves Joe Biden,” he wrote, but residents are worried he can’t win this time — and are “terrified” of another Trump presidency.

Asked Thursday what should happen if Biden does withdraw, Welch called for an “open process” and said the party would have “strong candidates … starting with the vice president.”

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