Biden meets family at Camp David as calls mount for him to quit US presidential race

Joe Biden met his family at Camp David on Sunday to discuss his political future after a disastrous debate with Donald Trump revived doubts about his cognitive ability and renewed calls for him to drop out of the 2024 presidential race.

The president’s family reportedly encouraged him to stay the course as he spent the day with first lady Jill Biden, his children and grandchildren.

Mr Biden appeared frail and his voice was soft and rasped during the first debate of the 2024 presidential race with Mr Trump last week. His performance sent top Democrats into crisis talks and led to speculation that the party would try and replace him with another candidate.

But Mr Biden’s family maintained that he was the best Democratic candidate to defeat Mr Trump, people privy to the internal discussions told The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.

They also expressed confidence in his ability to serve as president for another four years.

His wife Jill Biden and son Hunter Biden were reportedly the most vocal in rallying behind Mr Biden. They argued that the president should not bow out when he’s down and believed that he could come back from what they saw as one subpar performance.

The family also analysed their preparation of Mr Biden for the debate and wondered if they could have done better, the Associated Press reported.

Hunter Biden wanted the people to see the version of his father that he knew for being in command of facts, family sources told the New York Times.

“The entire family is united,” one source said about the discussion. “You get up and keep fighting.”

Joe Biden and wife Jill Biden walk to board Air Force One at Francis S Gabreski airport in New York (AFP via Getty)
Joe Biden and wife Jill Biden walk to board Air Force One at Francis S Gabreski airport in New York (AFP via Getty)

In the 72 hours since the debate, a chorus of supporters and donors have urged Mr Biden to quit the race, as has The New York Times editorial board.

“The president appeared on Thursday night as the shadow of a great public servant,” the paper opined on Friday. “He struggled to explain what he would accomplish in a second term.”

“He struggled to respond to Mr Trump’s provocations. He struggled to hold Mr Trump accountable for his lies, his failures and his chilling plans,” it continued. “More than once, he struggled to make it to the end of a sentence.”

A poll of 1,130 registered voters conducted by CBS and YouGov after the debate showed that less than 30 per cent thought Mr Biden should be in the 2024 presidential race.

Asked why they thought Mr Biden should not be running for another term, 86 per cent of the respondents cited his age while 59 per cent said they had concerns about his ability to campaign.

More than half of the respondents also said Mr Trump should not be running for president, with nearly 91 per cent referring to his felony conviction as a reason.