Opinion | Sen. Peter Welch: Biden should withdraw from 2024 race

Peter Welch, a Democrat, represents Vermont in the U.S. Senate.

I have great respect for President Biden. He saved our country from a tyrant. He is a man of rare decency. He cares deeply about our democracy. He has been one of the greatest presidents of our time.

But I, like everyone else, am concerned about the November election. The stakes are too high. We cannot forget President Biden’s disastrous performance in the debate. We cannot ignore or dismiss the valid questions that have been raised since that night.

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

For the good of the country, I call on President Biden to withdraw from the race.

Trump is a criminal, a pathological liar, a threat, and he will surely be emboldened by his activist Supreme Court, which granted him almost total immunity.

When Trump was president, he consistently put his own interests ahead of those of the nation, culminating in his attempt to overturn the 2020 election and disrupt the peaceful transfer of power. He has called the January 6 insurrectionists “patriots.”

Meanwhile, MAGA Republicans have clearly stated their plans for a second Trump term, laying out an extremist agenda with their Project 2025.

But the national conversation is centered on President Biden’s age and ability. Only he can change them.

I make this assessment with sadness. Vermont loves Joe Biden. President Biden and Vice President Harris received a larger percentage of the vote here than in any other state. But ordinary Vermonters are worried that he can’t win this time and are terrified of another Trump presidency. These are real concerns from ordinary voters I’ve heard from recently, like a mother who relies on the child tax credit and seniors who rely on Medicare.

The latest data make it clear that the political danger for Democrats is increasing. States that were once strongholds are now leaning toward the Republican Party. These new changes (in Minnesota, New Hampshire, Nevada, Arizona and Georgia) should be taken seriously, not denied or ignored.

The good news is that President Biden has united the party and created a strong caucus that can defeat Trump. Vice President Harris is a capable and proven leader, and we have other electable, young, and energetic Democratic governors and senators in key states. These leaders not only have experience running and winning in tough political environments, but they also have fundraising networks, media expertise, charisma, and the ability to inspire voters of all generations and across all walks of life.

We have asked President Biden to do so much for so many people for so long. He has demanded unparalleled selflessness and courage. We need him to put us first, as he has done before. I urge him to do so now.

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