Vermont’s Peter Welch becomes first Democratic senator to publicly call for Biden to step down

Vermont’s Peter Welch becomes first Democratic senator to publicly call for Biden to step down

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Louise Thomas

Vermont’s Peter Welch has become the first Democratic senator to call for Joe Biden to step down as the party’s presidential nominee, saying that the stakes “could not be higher.”

In an op-ed, published on Wednesday in the Washington Post, Welch said that “valid questions” raised following the president’s diastrous debate performance could not be “ignored or dismissed.”

“I understand why President Biden wants to run. He saved us from Donald Trump once and wants to do it again. But he needs to reassess whether he is the best candidate to do so,” he wrote.

“In my view, he is not. For the good of the country, I’m calling on President Biden to withdraw from the race.”

It comes as voices calling for Biden to step down within the Democratic party become louder. Multiple lawmakers from across the country including nine House Democrats have directly called on the president to exit the race.

On Tuesday, Michael Bennet of Colorado became the first Democratic senator to publicly say he doesn’t believe Biden is capable of winning reelection, though he stopped short of calling for him to step down.

Bennet said his voters have “deep concerns” about whether Biden can win and urged the White House to not ignore worries about his viability.

In his op-ed, Welch echoed both sentiments, noting that the national conversation was still focussed on Biden’s “age and capacity.”

“I deliver this assessment with sadness. Vermont loves Joe Biden. President Biden and Vice President Harris received a larger vote percentage here than in any other state,” he said.

“But regular Vermonters are worried that he can’t win this time, and they’re terrified of another Trump presidency. These are real concerns of regular voters who I’ve heard from recently.”

He added Harris was a “capable, proven leader”, and that the party had “other electable, young, energizing” Democratic governors and senators in swing states.

“Not only do these leaders have experience running and winning in tough political environments, they also have fundraising networks, media experience, charisma, and the ability to inspire voters across generations and across our big tent,” he wrote.

“We have asked President Biden to do so much for so many for so long. It has required unmatched selflessness and courage. We need him to put us first, as he has done before. I urge him to do it now.”

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