Biden faces a ‘vital week’ to convince voters he can beat Trump, Sen. Murphy says

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Republican presidential candidate former U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic Party presidential candidate U.S. President Joe Biden speak during a presidential debate in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., June 27, 2024 in a combination photo.

Brian Snyder | Reuters

President Joe Biden is entering a decisive week where he must assure voters that he can defeat President Donald Trump in the November election, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said Sunday.

“The clock is ticking,” Murphy, a close ally of the president, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “This is going to be a really important and vital week for the country and for the President.”

Since Biden’s fumbling debate performance on June 27, the chorus of Democratic lawmakers, strategists and donors calling on him to bow out of the presidential race has only grown louder. And while voter polls have delivered mixed results, several have shown the president falling further behind Trump.

The week ahead is crucial with the House and the Senate back in session after a holiday recess, giving Democrats the chance to discuss their concerns in person. Five House Democrats so far have publicly called on Biden to drop out of the race, but more lawmakers have expressed worry behind closed doors.

As the drop-out pressure mounts, Biden has been in damage control mode as he staunchly pledged to remain in the race.

On Wednesday, five days after the debate disaster, the president held a variety of phone calls and meetings with Capitol Hill allies, Democratic governors and campaign staff to reassure them of his commitment to the race and ability to win.

On Friday, Biden did an unedited, 22-minute sit-down with ABC News, his first televised interview aimed at reversing some of the damage of his debate flop. But the interview did little to ease voter concerns, Murphy said.

“Friday night’s interview did not answer all the questions that people in my state have,” he added. “They need to see more from the President and I hope that we see that this week.”

Also on Friday, Biden made a campaign stop in the key battleground state of Wisconsin. On Sunday, Biden was in Pennsylvania holding several other campaign events, looking to quiet the Democratic panic.

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In the week ahead, Biden is hosting a slate of foreign leaders for the NATO summit. On Thursday, he is scheduled to hold a press conference, another opportunity to redeem himself at an unscripted event.

Several congressional meetings are also scheduled this week, where discussion is expected to focus on concerns around Biden’s candidacy and potential impacts on down-ballot races.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., has planned a Sunday meeting of Democratic committee chairs. Senator Mark Warner, D-Va., is trying to convene a similar meeting of Senate Democrats in the coming days.

Murphy said that the coming week cannot be “business as usual” for Biden. Instead, the senator suggested, Biden needs to flood the zone with public appearances like town halls and press conferences to show voters that he can handle the rest of the campaign and a second term in office.

“The President needs to engage in the kind of interaction with voters that will prove to those that are skeptical out there that he can do the job,” Murphy said. “if he can’t do that, then he has a decision to make.”

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