Updated Aug 13, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Dem. Rep urges Biden to “pass the torch” to another presidential candidate

Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) in January. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) said Sunday he wants President Biden to stand down on his 2024 Democratic presidential primary bid to give another Democrat a shot at the White House.

Why it matters: Phillips has previously called on others to challenge Biden in the 2024 Democratic nomination but is not committing himself to running as of yet.

  • "I would like to see Joe Biden, a wonderful and remarkable man, pass the torch — cement this extraordinary legacy," Phillips said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday.
  • "And by the way, this is not how everybody thinks, but I do believe the majority wants to move on," he added.
  • Phillips said his views on Biden stepping down are not based on the president's age but rather "how people feel."

By the numbers: 56% of U.S. adults said they had an unfavorable opinion of Biden, compared to just 32% of those with favoring opinions on the president, according to a CNN poll in June.

  • Prospective voters in the CNN poll also had an unfavorable view of former President Donald Trump at 59%.
  • An April poll from NBC News revealed that 70% of Americans think Biden should not seek another term. Of those responses, 51% came from Democrats.
  • 60% of those polled by NBC also thought Trump shouldn't run for president again. Of those, a third identified themselves as Republican voters.
  • "Joe Biden right now is down seven points in the four swing states that will decide the next election," said Phillips, who also pointed to Biden's historically low approval numbers.
  • Phillips added that he's not saying Biden is "not up to a second term," but that the numbers reflect that Americans want change and a new Democratic candidate.

What they're saying: "If people aren't willing right now to have that conversation, to have the discussion, and most importantly, to present some alternatives, how in the world are we going to look at these numbers and say everything's okay?" Phillips said.

  • "But hopes and dreams and prayers, I love them. They don't solve gun violence, they don't give health insurance to Americans, right? And they sure as heck won't change the numbers that I'm seeing right now."
  • When questioned by "Meet the Press" moderator Chuck Todd on a candidate that he would like to see challenge Biden, Phillips suggested Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro.
  • Both names fit Phillips' description of his ideal candidate: "A moderate governor, hopefully from the heartland."
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