Democrats on Biden: From Clooney's 'Need a new nominee' to Obama's 'Bad debates happen'

Questions over whether President Joe Biden should remain the Democrats' candidate in November have not died down since the first debate.

On June 27, Biden struggled to answer questions during the first presidential debate with Donald Trump, leading many to question his fitness for four more years in office.

Several lawmakers and Democratic surrogates have voiced concerns, and some even called on Biden to step down from the race. But he has remained defiant, saying he is "firmly committed to staying in this race" in a Monday letter to congressional Democrats.

Vermont Sen. Peter Welch, became the first Democratic senator to call for President Joe Biden to drop out of the presidential race. In an opinion piece published Wednesday, he argued that despite being "one of the best presidents of our time" Biden should withdraw "for the good of the country."

In the flurry of possibility for a very different election cycle than anticipated, other top Democrats have weighed in. Here are some party leaders' comments on Biden's candidacy.

More: Democratic governors to President Biden: 'Path to victory is the No. 1 priority'

George Clooney: 'We need a new nominee'

Actor George Clooney, one of the 2022 Kennedy Center honorees, attends a reception at the White House on December 04, 2022 in Washington, DC. Clooney, a longtime support of President Biden, called on him to step out of the 2024 presidential election.
Actor George Clooney, one of the 2022 Kennedy Center honorees, attends a reception at the White House on December 04, 2022 in Washington, DC. Clooney, a longtime support of President Biden, called on him to step out of the 2024 presidential election.

Role: Actor, active celebrity fundraiser for the Democratic party

Stance: Biden should step down.

In his words: "I love Joe Biden. As a senator. As a vice president and as president. I consider him a friend, and I believe in him," he wrote in an opinion essay published Wednesday. "But the one battle he cannot win is the fight against time. None of us can. It’s devastating to say it, but the Joe Biden I was with three weeks ago at the fund-raiser was not the Joe 'big F-ing deal' Biden of 2010. He wasn’t even the Joe Biden of 2020. He was the same man we all witnessed at the debate."

Peter Welch: 'The stakes could not be higher'

Role: U.S. Senator from Vermont

Position: Americans can not ignore valid concerns about Biden.

In his words: "I have great respect for President Biden. He saved our country from a tyrant. He is a man of uncommon decency. He cares deeply about our democracy. He has been one of the best presidents of our time," Welch wrote in an Washington Post opinion piece published Wednesday night. "But I, like folks across the country, am worried about November’s election. The stakes could not be higher. We cannot unsee President Biden’s disastrous debate performance. We cannot ignore or dismiss the valid questions raised since that night."

Nancy Pelosi: 'It's up to the president to decide'

Role: Representative from California, former House Speaker.

Stance: Seemingly questioning whether Biden should remain the nominee.

In her words: "It’s up to the president to decide if he is going to run," Pelosi said Wednesday on morning on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "We're all encouraging him to make that decision. Because time is running short.”

Hillary Clinton: 'I'll be voting Biden'

Role: Former democratic presidential nominee, secretary of state and U.S. senator

Stance: Planning to vote for Biden.

In her words: "The choice in this election remains very simple," Clinton said in a post on X the day after the debate. "It's a choice between someone who cares about you—your rights, your prospects, your future—versus someone who's only in it for himself. I'll be voting Biden."

Michael Bennet: Trump on track to win 'by a landslide'

Role: U.S. Senator from Colorado

Position: Biden won't beat Trump, but Bennet did not call on Biden to step aside.

In his words: “Donald Trump is on track, I think, to win this election, and maybe win it by a landslide, and take with him the Senate and the House,” Bennet said in an interview with CNN Tuesday night. "I'm sure President Biden has a different view of his prospects in this election than I do, but we should be having a discussion about that."

Barack Obama: 'Bad debate nights happen'

Role: Former democratic president

Stance: The debate did not change the stakes.

In his words: "Bad debate nights happen. Trust me, I know. But this election is still a choice between someone who has fought for ordinary folks his entire life and someone who only cares about himself," Obama said on X the day after the debate. "Last night didn’t change that, and it’s why so much is at stake in November."

The Squad: 'He is in this race and I support him'

Role: Progressive congressional Democrats, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass.

Stance: Supporting Biden

Ocasio-Cortez: “I have spoken with him extensively. He made clear then and he has made clear since that he is still in this race. The matter is closed,” said Ocasio-Cortez Monday. “He had reiterated that this morning. He has reiterated that to the public. Joe Biden is our nominee. He is not leaving this race. He is in this race and I support him.”

House members ask Biden to step down

At least eight Democratic lawmakers have made public statements calling on Biden to exit the race:

A few other representatives have been reportedly said Biden should exit the race during a private call Sunday.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden 2024: George Clooney joins Democrats urging Biden to step aside