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Senator Peter Welch is the first senator to call for Biden’s resignation
Senator Peter Welch is the first senator to call for Biden’s resignation

Senator Peter Welch (Vermont) is the first Democratic senator to call for President Biden’s resignation following the US debate in June.

“We cannot undo President Biden’s disastrous debate performance,” the new senator wrote in an editorial in the Washington Post published Wednesday evening. “We cannot ignore or dismiss the legitimate questions that have been raised since that night.”

“For the good of the country, I urge President Biden to drop out of the race,” Welch said.

The senator pointed to “shifts” in poll numbers in Minnesota, New Hampshire, Nevada, Arizona and Georgia to underscore that the political danger for Biden, given the risk of a Donald Trump victory, is too great to stay in the race.

Democratic lawmakers continue to question Biden’s chances of winning and are panicking about their party’s prospects this fall. Twelve House members have called on Biden to resign. Several senators expressed concern in a private meeting Tuesday that Biden has no chance of winning in 2024 and that his unpopularity risks Democrats losing both the House and Senate. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) said in a CNN interview Tuesday night that he feared Trump would win a “landslide” victory, but stopped short of calling on Biden to resign.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also urged Biden to make a quick decision about his candidacy in a television interview on Wednesday, even as he insisted on staying in the race.

“We all encourage him to make that decision because time is running out,” Pelosi said.

On Thursday, senior Biden officials Mike Donilon, Jen O’Malley Dillon and Steve Ricchetti will brief Senate Democrats at a luncheon at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, invited by Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) to address his caucus’ concerns.

“As I have repeatedly made clear publicly and privately, I support President Biden and remain committed to defeating Donald Trump in November,” Schumer said in a statement Wednesday evening.

This stance puts Welch at odds with fellow Vermonter Senator Bernie Sanders, who told reporters on Wednesday that he believed Biden would win and urged people to focus on his policies.

On Wednesday, Welch said he hoped Biden would decide to drop out of the race after seeing the poll data. “President Biden has made it clear that he is fully in, but there is growing evidence that a tough fight is turning into an uphill battle,” the senator said.

Biden has told Democrats on Capitol Hill that he is running and wants to end the debate about his candidacy.

“I am determined to stay in this race, see it through to the end, and defeat Donald Trump,” he wrote in a letter on Monday.

On Wednesday, David Wasserman, an analyst at the Cook Political Report, called Trump’s lead in the polls after the debate “the most dramatic change in the race all year.”

In his op-ed, Welch praised Biden for his years of work, saying he has “united” the party and helped build a group of elected officials capable of defeating Trump. He called Vice President Harris a “capable” leader and also praised other unnamed Democratic governors and senators.

“I understand why President Biden wants to run,” he wrote. “He saved us from Donald Trump once and wants to do it again. But he needs to reevaluate whether he is the best candidate for the job. In my view, he is not.”

By Everly