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Biden to Hill Dems: ‘I am firmly committed to staying in this race’

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President Joe Biden is attempting to head off more intraparty calls for him to drop out of the race, sending a letter to Hill Democrats Monday morning that emphatically stated he would continue on as the party’s planned nominee.

“I am firmly committed to staying in this race, to running this race to the end, and to beating Donald Trump,” he said in the letter to lawmakers.

Not even 24 hours before, four senior Democrats said on a private call with House party leadership that Biden should step aside. With Congress returning from the July Fourth recess Monday, Biden and his campaign have scrambled to tamp down lawmakers’ concerns about his viability as a candidate after his widely-panned debate performance.

Many Democratic lawmakers have made no secret that they have questions about whether he would be able to beat Trump in November and serve another four years in office. A handful of Democrats have publicly called on Biden to step aside, and those numbers are expected to grow in the coming days.

Five other Democrats have publicly called on Biden to step aside: Reps. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) and Angie Craig (D-Minn.).

Other Democrats have rallied behind the president. Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) criticized his colleagues in a Monday morning statement: “Weakening a weakened nominee seems like a losing strategy for a presidential election.”

Biden in the letter also reiterated his belief that he was the best candidate to beat Trump in the general election: “I wouldn’t be running again if I did not absolutely believe I was the best person to defeat Donald Trump in 2024.”

Biden argued that he had already dispatched the candidates who ran against him in the Democratic primary. With a little more than a month until the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Biden told Democrats to settle their differences and unite behind him.

“Any weakening of resolve or lack of clarity about the task ahead only helps Trump and hurts us. It’s time to come together, move forward as a unified party, and defeat Donald Trump,” he wrote.

Jordain Carney contributed to this report.