French President Emmanuel Macron Biden
French President Emmanuel Macron is welcomed by US President Joe Biden as they attend the NATO 75th anniversary summit at the Walter E. Washington Convention Centre in Washington, DC, on July 9, 2024. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: It’s been a long week for US President Joe Biden, and it’s not over yet.

The calls to withdraw from the race for a second term have grown louder, his stamina, oratory and effectiveness are under the scanner and he’s struggling to calm the Democratic Party’s fears about his chances against former President Donald Trump this November.

All this after a shaky June 27 debate that has resulted in Democrats, donors and actors expressing deep concern about Biden’s health.

In a new poll on Thursday, more than half of Democrats said Joe Biden should end his reelection bid.

Both Biden, 81, and Trump, 78, received 46 per cent support among registered voters in the Washington Post-ABC News-Ipsos survey.

Some 56 per cent of Democrats and two-thirds of Americans overall want Biden to quit the White House race. Half of all respondents said his Republican challenger should drop out.

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The poll said if Vice-President Kamala Harris were to replace her boss as the Democratic nominee she would fare better, scoring 49 per cent against Trump’s 47 per cent.

At the Nato summit, despite Biden managing to reassure leaders about his fitness for office with a strong speech at the opening of the alliance’s 75th anniversary summit, delegations from across Europe were quietly slotting in meetings with advisers and others with links to Donald Trump.

Bloomberg reported that most officials said they were hoping to get a clearer sense of just what a Trump victory might mean for an alliance he regularly targets for critP{

Press conference

Biden will get a chance to ease the pressure if he does well at his first press conference since the debate on Thursday (1.30am, Friday, UAE time).

The White House has dubbed it a “big boy” press conference, and Biden will be under severe pressure to show he can handle a rare unscripted moment in his presidency. Any misteps will have disastrous effects and more heavyweights could be expected to join the chorus to withdraw.

All those who have raised concerns have issued similar statements: “Biden is a patriot. We love him. But he is no longer the best candidate to defeat Trump.”

Clooney's call

On Wednesday Hollywood actor and supporter George Clooney called on Biden not to stand, just weeks after holding a glitzy fundraiser for the president.

“The dam has broken,” wrote Clooney, a lifelong Democrat who helped raise $30 million for the president at an event last month. “We can put our heads in the sand and pray for a miracle in November, or we can speak the truth.”

Former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi greets a guest as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken hosts a dinner with NATO foreign ministers at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, on July 10, 2024, on the sidelines of the NATO 75th anniversary summit. Image Credit: AFP

Party heavyweight and former House speaker Nancy Pelosi subtly stopped short of backing Biden, saying only that he should make a decision after the NATO summit.

The first Democratic senator, Peter Welch of Vermont, meanwhile, joined at least eight House Democrats in openly urging Biden not to stand again.

New York Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado, who says that Biden “deserves our eternal gratitude” for his nearly four years running the country, called for him to end his campaign for reelection and make “room for a new leader.”

But many Democrats are believed to be waiting to see if Biden pulls off his first solo press conference since November 2023, or whether it will be a repeat of the debate.

It’s a tough choice.

For some Democrats, it’s a personal matter as they decide whether to abandon a man whom many respect and have worked with for decades. Others wonder if the party can close ranks around another candidate with just weeks until the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.