Dem. Congressman Becomes the First to Call for President Joe Biden to ‘Move On’ from 2024 Election


A Democratic congressman, perhaps the first of many, is now calling on President Joe Biden to step down for the good of the Democratic party.

Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) suggested on NBC’s Meet the Press with Chuck Todd that President Joe Biden should consider stepping down, noting the public’s desire for change and highlighting his significant drop in approval ratings.

Transcript follows below:

CHUCK TODD: Did I sum this up right? You are not interested in being a candidate for president technically yourself right now, or are you?

REP. DEAN PHILLIPS: That’s a fair statement. What I’m technically and legitimately doing is representing. I’m a Representative, and I’m representing what I believe to be the majority of the country that wants to turn the page. Tired of the meanness and the fear mongering of Donald Trump. I would like to see Joe Biden, a wonderful and remarkable man, pass the torch, cement this extraordinary legacy.

CHUCK TODD: You don’t want him to run for reelection?

REP. DEAN PHILLIPS: I believe what’s in the best interest of the country – and by the way, this is not how everybody thinks, but I do believe the majority wants to move on. The news was that I was meeting with donors. The fact is, I listen to normal Americans every day, and my own feelings.

CHUCK TODD: Is this all about age?

REP. DEAN PHILLIPS: No, no. This is about how people feel. By the way, it’s not about what’s real all the time. It’s about how people feel. People want to turn the page. I think that’s fair to say. As a Democrat, I adore Joe Biden. He saved this country. He can cement his legacy. My real call to action right now is not about me. The call to action is to ask the president to pass the torch. There is an extraordinary bench of people ready to go, proximate, prepared, in a position–

CHUCK TODD: Who would you like to see in this race?

REP. DEAN PHILLIPS: I would like to see a moderate governor, hopefully from the heartland, from one of the four states that Democrats will need, particularly –

CHUCK TODD: So let’s see. Gretchen Whitmer, you’d like to see her? Or is it Tim Walz, your home state governor? Tony Evers? Help me out here.

REP. DEAN PHILLIPS: You just said a few names I think would be great. Josh Shapiro. There are a number of people. J.B. Pritzker. Some people have asked me that I not use their names because of this institutional fear that it might impact you down the road. This is the time to meet the moment. And I’m doing something that – I know it’s unpopular with Democrats. But I’m speaking truth. That’s my job. My duty is to the people I represent. But also to represent the mass majority. And I want to say this about Democrats, it’s really important. Joe Biden right now is down seven points in the four swing states that will decide the next election. He has historically low approval numbers, Chuck. There are about 55% of Democrats would like to see an alternative. I can keep going down the list. The fact of the matter is —

CHUCK TODD: No, no. Everything you’re saying we’ve all heard in private as well. Why do you think it’s all private? Why do you think this hand wringing has only really gone public for you?

REP. DEAN PHILLIPS: It’s very simple. People are focused on self-preservation and not principle. There is no political reward in the United States right now for simply speaking the truth. Look at what happened to my Republican colleagues who dared do the right thing and support the Constitution. Support the Constitution, the only thing to which we’re duty-bound. Look at what happened to them. It is not good to get out of line. It’s not good to raise your hand, stand up, shout a little bit, at a time we need it more than ever. And I’m afraid that that’s the culture in this institution here in Washington D.C.

CHUCK TODD: And I saw – you believe that Hunter Biden actually reinforces this even more, don’t you?

REP. DEAN PHILLIPS: I don’t think the president is corrupt. I think the investigation will show that. But, and this is the important part, it’s the image. It’s what the news will do. We know what era we live in, in partisanship. It is the attachment to the president. Most people aren’t watching Meet the Press every weekend.

CHUCK TODD: But wouldn’t this happen to any Democratic nominee?

REP. DEAN PHILLIPS: It probably will, and it saddens me. And these are the people I’m trying to represent right now, Chuck, the people who are sick and tired of this nonsense. We have a duopoly, we have a political industrial complex that if they agree on anything, it’s the status quo. And by the way, now, I have trouble with Donald Trump. I do not have trouble with Trumpers who are trying to find somebody to change the system. The hardware is fine, the software is a problem, the people with whom we’re populating the system. And I understand the need for transparency. We need to restore faith in government. We should do that in a thoughtful, meaningful, legitimate, and bipartisan manner. And it can be done. We need leaders in the next generation to do so. And I’m just simply expressing that point of view that I think is shared by a majority of Americans.

CHUCK TODD: What can President Biden do to reassure you he is up to a second term?

REP. DEAN PHILLIPS: I’m not saying he’s not up to a second term. What I’m saying is look at the data. I listen. My job is to listen. I do it every single day back in Minnesota, all over the country–

CHUCK TODD: Right, can you change the data?

REP. DEAN PHILLIPS: That’s the challenge. I come from the marketing world. You just explained my background. Sometimes you have a product that is extraordinary, meets the moment, you think is going to be the next big thing, and it just doesn’t happen. And in business, you have to recognize it, because the data speaks the truth. The data is speaking the truth right now. And if nobody is willing to talk about it before it’s too late, that’s the key. It’s not too late.

CHUCK TODD: The case against what you’re talking about is basically the history of our lifetimes, okay? You go back, the last four sitting presidents who had serious primary challengers, that party lost the White House.

REP. DEAN PHILLIPS: But Chuck, why did they–

CHUCK TODD: We can go back to LBJ, but also Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush.

REP. DEAN PHILLIPS: But why were they primaried? Because people recognized they were weakened. The country was ready to turn the page. Now, we could have an hour debate on this subject, and I understand that. I ran for Congress after the 2016 election. I woke up the next morning, my teenaged daughters were in tears. I promised them I would do something. I’m not going to be quiet now, five years later, when the same trauma could be afflicting the country, if Donald Trump is reelected. So I will do nothing to ensure that Donald Trump is reelected. But Chuck, it’s really important that people know this. I’m doing just the opposite. And 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? 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.

CHUCK TODD: Have you talked to Joe Manchin? Do you want him to run in a Democratic primary instead of as an Independent for No Labels?

REP. DEAN PHILLIPS: I want anybody who wants to run — Joe Manchin, Cornel West, any of the governors–

CHUCK TODD: You want him in the primary?

REP. DEAN PHILLIPS: In the primary. That’s why we have primaries, because that doesn’t undermine the likelihood of returning, in this case, a Democrat to the White House. So that is the key. Enter the primary, my friends. Everybody who is on the bench, meet the moment. Don’t wait five years. We need you now.


When are you going to make a decision? You’re waiting for somebody, who you’ve said, with a bigger name–

REP. DEAN PHILLIPS: I’m not waiting. No —

CHUCK TODD: – to come in. How long are you going to wait?

REP. DEAN PHILLIPS: Waiting is like hopes and prayers. I’m actively inviting, encouraging, to some degree, imploring that people who are ready and know it’s probably time to do so, take the chance.

CHUCK TODD: You met with donors. Are they directly going to some of these candidates and pleading with them to get in, or not?


Well, Chuck, if donors and average, everyday, wonderful, normal Americans are coming to me of all people, you don’t think they’re approaching those people in much higher numbers with even more frequency?

CHUCK TODD: But you don’t know yet.

REP. DEAN PHILLIPS: No, I know they are. And I’ll make the decision once I do my darndest in the next month or so to encourage others to do so. Please, this is an appeal to everybody of good conscience and good character. Let’s turn the page. And imagine how fun, hopeful, and exciting it would be. We’re going to do it.


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