Indian Prime Minister Modi makes first visit to ally Russia since the start of its war on Ukraine

As Biden campaigns in Pennsylvania, some Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives say he should resign

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania: President Joe Biden called on his supporters to remain united during a series of Sunday stops in critical Pennsylvania on Sunday, even as some leading congressional Democrats privately suggested it was time to abandon his re-election bid amid mounting questions about whether he is suitable for another mandate.
Addressing a rousing church service in front of sun-drenched stained glass windows at Mount Airy Church of God in Christ in Philadelphia, Biden, 81, joked, “I know I look 40,” but “I’ve been doing this for a long time. time.”
“To be honest, I’ve never been more optimistic about the future of America if we stick together,” he said.
There, and during a subsequent rally with union members in Harrisburg, Biden gave short speeches that touched on familiar themes. But he also left enough room for key supporters to debate whether they would stand by him. In this way, the swing in Pennsylvania appeared to be more about showing support for the president from key political circles than proving that he still has four more years.
His party, however, remains deeply divided.
As Congress prepares to resume this week, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries convened the committee’s top lawmakers Sunday afternoon to gauge their views. Several Democratic caucus leaders, including Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York, Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut and Rep. Mark Takano of California, said privately that Biden should withdraw, according to two people familiar with the meeting and wanted to discuss with him anonymously. .
But other top Democrats, including members of the influential Congressional Black Caucus, have been equally adamant that Biden remains the party’s choice. The conversation was varied, with committee leaders sharing different views on the situation, but no consensus on what should be done, the people said.
Biden made personal calls to lawmakers over the weekend. He also joined the call with substitutes from the campaign and reiterated that he has no intention of leaving the game. Instead, the president vowed to campaign harder going forward and step up his political travel, said two of the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.
One of the Democrats the president spoke with, Sen. Alex Padilla of California, said he and others are urging the Biden campaign to “let Joe be Joe, get him out.”
“I absolutely believe we can turn this around,” Padilla told The Associated Press.
Meanwhile, a person familiar with Sen. Mark Warner’s thinking said there would not be a meeting Monday to discuss Biden’s future, as previously rumored, and that those discussions would take place at Tuesday’s regular luncheon with all Democratic senators . The person said the private meeting was no longer possible after it was announced that the Virginia Democrat had reached out to senators about Biden and that various conversations between the senators were continuing.
Five other, different Democratic lawmakers have already publicly called on Biden to drop his re-election campaign before November. The in-person meeting next week means more opportunities for lawmakers to discuss concerns about Biden’s ability to survive the remaining four months of the campaign — not to mention an additional four years in the White House — and his real chances of defeating Republican presumptive Donald Trump.
Biden’s campaign team has also been calling and texting lawmakers to try to prevent more potential defections, while increasingly asking key Biden supporters to speak on his behalf.
Despite this, calls for resignation came from different directions.
Alan Clendenin, a Tampa city councilman and member of the Democratic National Committee, called on Biden on Sunday to “step aside and allow Vice President Kamala Harris to continue her agenda as our Democratic nominee.” Director Rob Reiner, who has helped organize glitzy Hollywood fundraisers for Biden in the past, posted on X: “It’s time for Joe Biden to step down.”
The Democratic convention is fast approaching, and Biden’s Friday interview with ABC didn’t win over some who remain skeptical.
Democratic fundraiser Barry Goodman, a Michigan attorney, said he supports Biden but would give his support to Harris if he resigned. That’s notable since Goodman also served as the finance co-chairman for both state campaigns of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who was also mentioned as a top alternative.
“We don’t have much time,” Goodman said. “I don’t think the president will go out. But if he does, I think it will be Kamala.”
That suggestion was absent in Mount Airy, where Pastor Louis Felton compared the president to Joseph and the biblical story of his “mantle of many colors.” In it, Joseph is sold into slavery in Egypt by his jealous brothers, only to end up with a high position in Pharaoh’s kingdom and his brothers ask him for help without recognizing him at first.
“Never count Joseph out,” Felton pleaded. He then referred to Democrats who have called on Biden to resign, adding, “This is happening, Mr. President. People are jealous of you. Jealous of your persistence, jealous of your affection. Jealous of God’s hand over your life.”
Felton also led a prayer where he said, “Our president is getting discouraged. Today, by your holy spirit, renew his mind, renew his spirit, renew his body.”
After the church service, Biden visited a campaign office in Philadelphia, where Sen. John Fetterman, a Pennsylvania Democrat who won a tough 2022 race while recovering from a stroke, offered a strong endorsement.
“Only one man has ever beaten Trump,” Fetterman said. “And he will do it twice and put it away forever.”
Later, as he stepped off Air Force One in Harrisburg, the president was asked if he was endorsed by the Democratic Party, and he answered emphatically, “Yes.”
Rep. Madeleine Dean, also a Democrat from Pennsylvania, joined him at a union event, saying that “democracy is on the line. There is one man who understands this, and that is Joe Biden.”
Isabel Afonso, who saw Biden speak in Harrisburg, said she was concerned to see the president’s debate performance, but she thinks he shouldn’t drop out of the race and can still win. “I know he is old, but I know that if something happens to him, he will be replaced by a sensible person,” said the 63-year-old Afonso.
At the same event, James Johnson, 73, said he knows what it’s like to forget things as you get older, but called Biden a “fighter.” He said changing the president at the top of the Democratic ticket would only cause confusion.
“I’m talking about lifelong Democrats and people who have been in the Democratic Party for a long time,” Johnson said. “Maybe that makes them decide to jump ship.”
Still, others aren’t entirely convinced.
Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut told CNN that Biden “needs to answer those questions that voters have,” adding, “If he does that this week, I think he’s going to be in a very good position.”
Biden refused independent cognitive testing, arguing that the daily rigors of the presidency were sufficient proof of his mental acuity. Still, California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff told NBC on Sunday that he would be “happy if both the president and Donald Trump took a cognitive test.”
As some Democrats have done, Schiff took a dig at Biden, who suggested during an ABC interview that losing to Trump would be acceptable “as long as I do my best.”
“It’s not just whether he gave his best shot in college,” Schiff said, “it’s whether he made the right decision to run or pass the torch.”

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