‘I’m not going anywhere:’ Biden intensifies effort to show he is fit to run for reelection

On Friday the president is holding a rally in Wisconsin and sitting down for an interview with ABC News in an attempt to demonstrate that his poor performance at the debate against Trump was just ‘a bad day’

Joe Biden, presidente de Estados Unidos
President Joe Biden on this Thursday at the White House.WILL OLIVER (EFE)
Miguel Jiménez

Thursday was a holiday at the White House. In between the barbecuing, the musical performances and the fireworks to celebrate Independence Day, President Joe Biden offered a couple of remarks and had some off-script moments. Since his disastrous debate last week against Donald Trump on CNN, Biden’s every public appearance has come under special scrutiny. On Thursday he read from a teleprompter, but then he got down from the lectern and, microphone in hand, said a few more words, including the expected headline: “I’m not going anywhere.”

Political, media and donor pressure for Biden to withdraw from the race has been increasing in recent days. There is a growing feeling that the president will not be able to defeat Trump at the presidential elections on November 5, since the Republican candidate has widened his lead in the polls. Furthermore, the Democratic congressmembers who are running for re-election on that same date are afraid that Biden’s bad moment will drag down the entire party.

Biden is aware that these are decisive days and that he needs to clear up existing doubts about his mental acuity. On Wednesday, at a meeting with Democratic governors at the White House, he allowed himself to joke about it. He said that he was in good health, that what was failing him was his brain, according to AP. The president also acknowledged at that meeting that he needs to sleep more and limit nighttime events so he can go to bed earlier and be rested for work, according to media reports.

During that meeting, Biden told the governors that he had been examined by his doctor after his performance in the debate, despite the fact that a few hours earlier, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre had said that Biden had not been examined by the doctor.

These are not very reassuring messages, but the president has intensified his agenda to try to show that he is in shape. On Thursday, at the White House, one of the guests at the barbecue told him: “Keep up the fight! We need you” and Biden replied: “You got me, man. I’m not going anywhere.”

Biden’s formal remarks were brief and preceded by a speech by the first lady, Jill Biden, who has been increasingly active at her husband’s public events, and by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. Biden gave a second speech later, this time without a teleprompter, but limiting himself to 4th of July talk.

On Friday the president is traveling to Madison (Wisconsin) to hold a rally, and he will sit down for an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News, which will air in prime time. On Sunday he is traveling to Philadelphia for another campaign event. Next week he is hosting a NATO summit in Washington, marking the 75th anniversary of the organization’s founding. At this summit, he will give a media conference open to all kinds of questions. Biden hopes to pass all of these exams with flying colors and once again convince his party colleagues, donors and voters that he is prepared for re-election and a second term. It won’t be an easy task.

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