Biden campaign official: ‘Of course’ Joe is not dropping out of the race

Joe Biden will not be “dropping out” of the race for the White House and remains “committed” to a second debate against Donald Trump in September, the president’s campaign officials have said.

The 81-year-old incumbent president has been inundated with a swathe of calls to wind down his re-election campaign after what critics are calling an “awful” performance at the first televised debate of the 2024 election on Thursday evening.

“Of course he’s not dropping out,” Seth Schuster, a Biden campaign spokesperson, told The Hill.

On Friday, one of Biden’s senior advisers was said to have told Kayla Tausche, CNN’s Senior White House correspondent, that the president was not going to bow out of his next televised debate against Trump. ABC is set to host the second scheduled Biden-Trump clash on September 10.

“Not only does [the president] not plan to drop out, Biden remains committed to a second debate in September, an adviser tells me,” she wrote on X.

After the former and current president departed the debate stage in Atlanta, Georgia, a CNN flash poll suggests that 67 per cent of respondents pitted Trump to have won the debate. The ex-president himself wasn’t infallible after spewing a stream of untruths, causing Biden to brand him a “liar”.

Biden and Trump went head-to-head in their first of two pre-planned televised debates on Thursday evening (Getty Images)
Biden and Trump went head-to-head in their first of two pre-planned televised debates on Thursday evening (Getty Images)

While at a nearby Waffle House, Biden shared a rose-tinted view of his performance. “I think we did well,” he said to the reporter.

“It’s hard to debate a liar. The New York Times pointed out he lied 26 times,” the president continued.

Biden’s age and mental fitness have already been a point of concern and Thursday’s debate was meant to be the president’s shot to silence doomsayers.

Instead, Democrats entered panic mode after Biden appeared to stumble over his words, lose his train of thought and, at points, freeze altogether.

Members of the president’s own party acknowledged that conversations would swirl discussing whether Biden was fit to retain office.

Former Democratic senator Claire McCaskill questioned whether “things can be done to fix this,” after being bested by his more coherent rival, she told MSNBC.

“The chatter is very distracting, and it’s going to be very consuming for the campaign,” former Biden press secretary Jen Psaki also told the outlet.

“Should he be replaced? They’re going to be answering that question instead of breaking through on attacking Trump,” she added.

Minnesota’s Democrat congressman Dean Phillips delivered a scathing nine-word tweet seemingly aimed at Biden on Friday afternoon. “Speak only if it improves upon the silence – Gandhi,” he wrote on X.

Other Democrats defended the president. Pennsylvania governor Josh Shapiro noted that Biden had a “bad night”, but added that it “doesn’t change the fact that Donald Trump was a bad president”.