NJ Spotlight: Biden Should Put ‘Democracy First’ and Stand Down, Sherrill Says


Rep. Mikie Sherrill becomes first member of NJ congressional delegation to say President Joe Biden should not seek reelection

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This story was written by Benjamin Hulac and published in New Jersey Spotlight on July 9; it is reprinted with permission.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-11th) became the first member of New Jersey’s congressional delegation to call on President Joe Biden to drop his candidacy for president, one of a handful of House members to break with the president.

Sherrill, a former U.S. Navy helicopter pilot in her third term, is just the seventh House Democrat to publicly urge Biden to end his campaign.

Sherrill said the perils of former President Donald Trump winning election again and carrying out his political goals are too great for Biden, dogged by a June 27 debate in which he appeared disoriented and befuddled, to stay in the race.

“I know that President Biden and his team have been true public servants and have put the country and the best interests of democracy first and foremost in their considerations,” Sherrill said in a statement. “And because I know President Biden cares deeply about the future of our country, I am asking that he declare that he won’t run for reelection and will help lead us through a process toward a new nominee.”Since the debate last month, Biden has sought to reassure donors, fellow Democrats and the public that he is up for the grueling slog of finishing the campaign, defeating Trump on Election Day and securing a second term.

The June 27 debate

In one memorable moment during the June 27 debate Biden confusingly said, “We finally beat Medicare,” an apparent but wrong reference to the new U.S. government tool to negotiate prescription drug prices.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Biden said Monday during a call to MSNBC, the cable channel.

Democrats who want to remove Biden from the ticket are facing a deadline of mid-August, when their party will gather at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago to formally nominate their choice for president. After that, replacing him would become all but impossible.

No Senate Democrats have pressed Biden to step aside, though some, including Michael Bennet of Colorado and Tina Smith of Minnesota, have questioned if Biden is the right candidate to win in November.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, a New York Democrat who leads his party in the House, has stuck with Biden, as has Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, another New Yorker.

“I’m with Joe,” Schumer told reporters at the Capitol Monday.

‘The stakes are too high’

In her statement, which ran four paragraphs, Sherrill touted Biden’s work on the COVID-19 pandemic, in defense of Ukraine, in competition against China and for help for military veterans exposed to toxic chemicals burned in pits abroad.

Sherrill, widely expected to run for New Jersey governor in 2025, also thanked Biden for his most significant political race: defeating Trump in 2020.

“When I think of my four children and all of the rights that another Trump presidency endangers, and in light of the recent Supreme Court decision that gave inordinate power to the President of the United States, the stakes are too high — and the threat is too real — to stay silent,” Sherrill said.

Asked if Biden should withdraw, Rep. Andy Kim (D-3rd) did not give a clear answer.

“While I continue to listen to the concerns of my constituents and colleagues about how best to win the White House, I know we must do everything in our power to restore trust in government to keep NJ’s Senate seat blue, and win back the House to stop Republicans’ extreme agenda,” Kim said via text message relayed to NJ Spotlight News through an aide.

On Tuesday afternoon, Rep. Donald Norcross (D-1st) touted the Biden administration’s labor record.

Asked if this meant the congressman thinks Biden should run, an aide declined to answer, referring questions to the Norcross campaign.

During the 2020 race, Biden referred to himself at several points as a “bridge” and a “transition candidate” to a younger generation.

“The president was old when he got elected the first time. He was older when he ran the second time,” Rep. Adam Smith, one of the Democrats who wants Biden to step down from the campaign, said Monday on the PBS Newshour. “He had alluded to the fact that he was a bridge.”

Smith added, “The debate performance wasn’t just a bad night. It was catastrophic in the performance. And it hasn’t gotten a lot better since then.

Lyndon Johnson was the last U.S. president not to seek a second elected term.

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