Texas Rep. Doggett first sitting Democrat to publicly call for Biden to exit presidential race

The last time a sitting president eligible for reelection opted out of the race was President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968.
Congress Biden
Posted at 12:12 PM, Jul 02, 2024

As discussion over President Joe Biden's political future continues, a House Democrat is calling on the president to drop out of the presidential race.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas became the first Democrat currently sitting in Congress to publicly encourage President Biden to withdraw from the race. Although President Biden is not officially the nominee yet, as the presumptive nominee with the overwhelming majority of pledged delegates, he would largely have to exit the race on his own volition for Democrats to replace him as the nominee.

Doggett's call for President Biden to withdraw comes less than a week after the first presidential debate between the president and former President Donald Trump.

"Recognizing that, unlike Trump, President Biden’s first commitment has always been to our country, not himself, I am hopeful that he will make the painful and difficult decision to withdraw. I respectfully call on him to do so," Doggett said. 

President Biden has resisted calls to withdraw as his campaign has cited a $33 million fundraising haul in the days after the debate. 

Related story: After the first debate, discussion of whether President Biden should step aside as the Democratic candidate

The last time a sitting president eligible for reelection opted out of the race was President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968. Democrats ended up nominating Hubert Humphrey that year, who lost to Richard Nixon. 

“I represent the heart of a congressional district once represented by Lyndon Johnson. Under very different circumstances, he made the painful decision to withdraw," Doggett said. "President Biden should do the same. While much of his work has been transformational, he pledged to be transitional. He has the opportunity to encourage a new generation of leaders from whom a nominee can be chosen to unite our country through an open, democratic process."

A CBS News/YouGov poll just released found that 72% of registered voters say President Biden should not run for reelection. The same poll showed that 54% of Democrats believe President Biden should run, compared to 46% who said he shouldn't. 

By comparison, 54% of registered voters think Trump should not run. But among Republicans, just 15% say he shouldn't.

While age is the No. 1 reason most voters believe President Biden should not run, Trump's recent conviction in a New York hush money case was the top reason why many voters say he should not be in the race.