Skip to content Skip to footer

Calls for Biden to Step Aside Grow as Major Donors Threaten to Withhold Funds

Donors and Democrats say the stakes are far too high to continue running a candidate who they say will certainly lose.

President Joe Biden speaks during a 4th of July event on the South Lawn of the White House on July 4, 2024, in Washington, D.C.

Calls for President Joe Biden to withdraw from the presidential race are growing as the campaign fails to combat concerns of his mental fitness and polls are indicating that Democrats will lose the race badly to Donald Trump if they don’t allow a new candidate to step in.

So far, three House Democrats have issued statements calling on Biden to step aside: Representatives Lloyd Doggett (Texas), Raúl Grijalva (Arizona) and Seth Moulton (Massachusetts). All three warned that the threat of a Trump presidency — especially in light of the Supreme Court’s presidential immunity ruling this week — is too much to put at risk by continuing to run Biden.

“What he needs to do is shoulder the responsibility for keeping that seat — and part of that responsibility is to get out of this race,” Grijalva told the New York Times, who said that Trump is an “anti-democratic, authoritarian despot.”

Moulton said he has “grave concerns” about Biden’s chances to defeat Trump.

“The unfortunate reality is that the status quo will likely deliver us President Trump. When your current strategy isn’t working, it’s rarely the right decision to double down,” he said, perhaps referring to the Biden campaign’s current insistence that he will continue to be the nominee.

“I’ve always said that America needs to elevate a new generation of leaders, and I respect those colleagues who have already spoken out. We should have all viable options on the table,” Moulton continued.

A number of other former elected Democrats, Democratic candidates and advisers have said that it is time for Biden to allow a new candidate to take his place, including people like former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro. In Washington, there is reportedly a group of top Democrats circulating potential plans to back Kamala Harris for the bid instead.

Further adding pressure is a campaign by wealthy donors to the Democratic Party to pressure Biden to step down. Multiple donors, who have collectively given Democrats tens of millions of dollars in previous cycles, are vowing to withhold donations to the party until Biden withdraws.

Abigail Disney, an heir to the Walt Disney fortune, has made such a pledge.

“I intend to stop any contributions to the party unless and until they replace Biden at the top of the ticket. This is realism, not disrespect. Biden is a good man and has served his country admirably, but the stakes are far too high,” Disney said in a statement, per CNBC. “If Biden does not step down the Democrats will lose. Of that I am absolutely certain. The consequences for the loss will be genuinely dire.”

Also working against Biden is the small mountain of polls finding that he is trailing behind Trump — even though Trump is also a historically weak candidate.

“Joe Biden is a badly wounded candidate whom voters dislike, and who voters think isn’t capable of handling the Presidency,” New York Times political and poll analyst told The New Yorker’s Isaac Chotiner in an interview published Thursday. “And while Donald Trump isn’t a political juggernaut by any stretch, and is maybe every bit as weak as he was four years ago, at least at the moment, Joe Biden does not have the broad appeal necessary to take advantage of it.”

So far, the Biden campaign has shown no indication publicly that Biden is going to step down, and appears to believe that he can erase the negative perception of his mental fitness from the debate with campaign stops and interviews.

But polls have shown that the impact of the debate was massive and potentially permanent — and, meanwhile, Biden’s gaffes are only piling up, adding further doubt to his ability to serve as the most powerful man on earth.

In interviews, Biden has continued to stumble and make comments that are borderline nonsensical. In an appearance on a Philadelphia-area radio station, WURD, on Thursday, Biden said that he is “proud to be, as I said, the first vice president, first Black woman, to serve with a Black president,” seemingly confusing his own vice presidency under Barack Obama with his current vice president.

In the same interview, he further said that he was the first president to be “elected statewide in the state of Delaware,” apparently meaning that he was the first Catholic to be elected for a statewide position.

Countdown is on: We have 3 days to raise $31,000

Truthout has launched a necessary fundraising campaign to support our work. Can you support us right now?

Each day, our team is reporting deeply on complex political issues: revealing wrongdoing in our so-called justice system, tracking global attacks on human rights, unmasking the money behind right-wing movements, and more. Your tax-deductible donation at this time is critical, allowing us to do this core journalistic work.

As we face increasing political scrutiny and censorship for our reporting, Truthout relies heavily on individual donations at this time. Please give today if you can.