"Someone you love who is in obvious decline": Public Biden support masks Democrats' private concern

Punchbowl News' Jake Sherman said Democrats who publicly support Biden privately say he can't win in November

Published July 9, 2024 3:26PM (EDT)

U.S. President Joe Biden returns to the White House with first lady Jill Biden on July 7, 2024 in Washington, DC. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
U.S. President Joe Biden returns to the White House with first lady Jill Biden on July 7, 2024 in Washington, DC. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

The presidential debate lasted 90 minutes but the fallout is still being felt twelve days later, with many Democrats still fretting over the viability of President Joe Biden's candidacy and privately worrying that he can't win in November, Punchbowl News founder Jake Sherman said Tuesday morning.

Appearing on CNBC's “Squawk Box,” Sherman, speaking ahead of a House Democratic Caucus meeting, noted that Biden has enjoyed a good deal of public support.

"There’s still a lot — a lot, a lot, a lot — of House Democrats and by the way every Senate Democrat,” who publicly support Biden, Sherman said. He noted that “no Senate Democrat has called on him to step off the ticket. It would take 60, 70, 80% of them to get him off the ticket."

Sherman arged that it would take both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ support to push Biden off the Democrats’ ticket. 

Refraining from calling the pair “weak leaders,” Sherman added that neither has seemed to waiver in their support of Joe Biden, at least publicly. However, “Every single Democrat that I’ve talked to, off the record, has said that they think he should step away,” Sherman said, including some of Biden’s most “fervent” public supporters worry that Biden cannot beat Trump.

Following the Democratic meeting, Sherman took to X, reporting that a Democratic lawmaker described the vibe as “like a funeral.” 

But there is still no consensus, he added. “Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.) said that putting [Kamala] Harris atop the ticket would be setting her up for failure." At the same time, Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), who has called for Biden to step down, said he saw a poll recently that had Biden losing in his district. Biden won his district with 62% of the vote last time.”

Heather Caygle, managing editor at Punchbowl, likewise reported that public dissent over Biden's continued campaign was a small reflection of what had been said privately in weeks past. “The debate was just a public airing of the concerns many of them have experienced/expressed privately," she wrote on X.

Reports following the meeting continue to paint a grim picture. Lauren Fox, a CNN correspondent, posting on X, quoted one Democratic lawmaker as saying it was a sad occasion, "talking about someone you love who is in obvious decline."

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