President Biden told campaign staffers that he is staying in the presidential race.speaks at a Biden-Harris campaign debate watch party in Atlanta, Georgia, on June 27, 2024, after President Biden debated former US President and Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

President Biden, seen here at a watch party in Atlanta, Ga. on June 27, told campaign staffers on Wednesday that he is staying in the presidential race.

Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

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Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said in a fundraising email Wednesday that “he’s not leaving” as speculation about his future as the Democratic nominee continues to grow.

“I’m the Democratic Party’s nominee. No one is pushing me out. I’m not leaving,” the email said. “I’m in this race to the end, and WE are going to win this election.”

The email follows a meeting with his campaign staffers where Biden said he is staying in “this race to the end,” a person on the call said, speaking on condition of anonymity to describe the private meeting. The meeting was one of a series of closed-door conversations he is having to try to reassure Democrats after last week’s disastrous debate led to calls for him to step down.

But House Democratic leaders were holding a call Wednesday evening, a source familiar with the meeting said, as congressional Democrats weighed their options following Biden’s verbal stumbles during his debate with former President Donald Trump.

House Democrats are nervous

With the fate of Congress also up in the air, some congressional Democrats were nervous about the prospect of the president remaining on the ticket.

So far, two House Democrats have called on Biden to withdraw: Texas Rep. Lloyd Doggett, and Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva, who gave remarks to the New York Times.

Separately, a House Democrat told NPR that Biden “seems to be continuously declining and we’ve still got four-five months, and folks are worried there will be a decline and if something catastrophic happens … after the convention then Democrats are really screwed.”

“There’s no perfect answer,” the lawmaker said. “It’s tough all around.”

The representative said lawmakers couldn’t take a risk that Biden showed no further signs of decline. “I can’t risk total catastrophe,” the member said.

Some lawmakers want Biden to stay on the ticket

The House Democrat said members were generally in two camps: those who still support Biden and those who want him to withdraw from the presidential race.

Even Biden’s supporters, this member said, were upset at campaign advisers who, in their view, put Biden in that position at the debate — and urged a campaign shakeup.

“If a nominee is going to stay, you have to send a strong signal you are going to change course,” this member said.

Those who want Biden to withdraw believe “it’s too risky, the stakes are too high to risk that something happens to Joe Biden after the convention, in September or October,” the member said.

If that happened, the member said, “We’re scrambling for a nominee, and the GOP is going to sue to block us from replacing him. It gets harder after the convention.”

But the lawmaker acknowledged that replacing Biden would be difficult. Even someone with clear name recognition among fellow Democrats would be a challenge.

“To lift someone’s stature, to get the money, to get them vetted … there’s a sliver of folks who want to go with the devil they know rather than the devil they don’t,” the lawmaker said.

Biden is blaming his debate performance on jet lag

The White House has blamed the debate flub on a cold and a “bad night.” On Tuesday, Biden told donors that a punishing travel schedule through many time zones was to blame. He had gone to Europe twice in two weeks in June, and also spent time at a Los Angeles fundraiser.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden spoke on Wednesday with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and has also held calls with Senate Leader Chuck Schumer, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, and Delaware Sen. Chris Coons.

Later on Wednesday, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris met at the White House with 25 Democratic governors.

Eleven of the governors were attending in person, including governors seen as potential future presidential candidates like California’s Gavin Newsom, Illinois’ J.B. Pritzker, Kentucky’s Andy Beshear, Maryland’s Wes Moore and Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer. Other governors attended by Zoom.

He will have a stream of events in coming days, including a trip to Wisconsin

Biden spent last weekend trying to persuade supporters that he could still do the job and a rally and fundraising events.

This week, he has a steady stream of events that will provide the public additional insight into whether the president can move past the headlines surrounding his debate performance.

He plans to celebrate the Fourth of July with service members and their family on the National Mall. On Friday, he will campaign in Wisconsin and give an interview to ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. And next week, he hosts NATO leaders in Washington, where he will give a solo press conference.

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