Majority of US media expect President Biden to withdraw from race to 'save American democracy and from Trump'

Biden, seeking a second term in the White House, stumbled and fumbled during the televised presidential debate with his predecessor Trump on Thursday night in Atlanta.
Last Updated : 29 June 2024, 17:35 IST

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Washington: A day after Joe Biden’s dismal showing at the first presidential debate against Donald Trump, leading US media outlets have commented that the incumbent US President should leave the race for the White House for the "future of American democracy and prevent a second innings for his Republican rival".

Biden, seeking a second term in the White House, stumbled and fumbled during the televised presidential debate with his predecessor Trump on Thursday night in Atlanta, setting off alarm bells among top Democrats about whether the 81-year-old president can stay atop the gruelling months ahead of the elections on November 5.

The 78-year-old Trump, who is the presumptive Republican Party candidate for the presidential election, clashed right from the start with Biden and by the end of the 90 minutes debate, gave enough fodder for serious editorials and opinions as well as memes on social media.

The New York Times Editorial Board on Friday went on to say how President Biden has repeatedly and rightfully described the stakes in this November’s presidential election as “nothing less than the future of American democracy” and how Trump has proved himself to be a significant jeopardy to that democracy and someone who has “systematically attempted to undermine the integrity of elections.”

“Mr. Biden has been an admirable president. Under his leadership, the nation has prospered and begun to address a range of long-term challenges, and the wounds ripped open by Mr. Trump have begun to heal. But the greatest public service Mr. Biden can now perform is to announce that he will not continue to run for re-election,” it said.

The Washington Post editorial ‘How Biden and the Democrats should think through what to do now’ said it’s incumbent on this incumbent (President Biden) to determine, “whether continuing to seek re-election is in the best interests of the country” as it continued: “Former president Donald Trump proved emphatically on Thursday why preventing another Trump presidency is the paramount consideration.”

The Los Angeles Times editorial 'For the sake of the nation, Biden must reassure Americans he is up to a second term’ presented a gloomy picture but with a ray of hope.

“If all one was confronted with was a transcript of the debate, Biden’s performance would look better. He effectively confronted Trump on the former president’s complicity in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and scored several policy points. Alas, for many viewers, especially those who don’t follow politics carefully, that mattered less than the fact that Biden confirmed Trump’s caricature of ‘Sleepy Joe,’” it said.

But it also added: “Nor, despite the visible jitters of many Democrats, does the disappointing debate performance mean that Biden should step aside from running for reelection — a scenario fraught with its own problems for the Democratic Party. However, it does mean that the president has to reassure Americans who might now have doubts about his fitness for another term.”

The Chicago Tribune’s editorial titled ‘As America sank into the couch, Joe Biden and Donald Trump combined for a depressing farce. Enough.’ was the most uncharitable as it said, “By all means, defend the honour and service of the man. But to pretend he (Biden) is the party’s best choice for four more years? For a party that loves to accuse Republicans of mendacity, it’s pretty rich.”

“Biden, if we’ve not made that clear, should announce that he will be a single-term president who now has seen the light when it comes to his own capabilities in the face of the singular demands of being the president of the United States. He can do so with honour, but he is the only person who can do so. Certainly, his family can help. But, again, he is the only one,” it asserted.

The Wall Street Journal started by saying the Trump-Biden debate was “painful—for the United States.” “President Biden’s halting, stumbling debate performance Thursday night showed all too clearly that he isn’t up to serving four more years in office. For the good of the country, more even than their party, Democrats have some hard thinking to do about whether they need to replace him at the top of their ticket,” were its scathing remarks only to be added with a disclaimer: “This isn’t a partisan thought; it’s a patriotic one.” No one spared Trump either.

Apart from pointing out how Trump repeated and brazenly lied about so many things, The New York Times editorial did not forget to point out how he “refused to promise that he would accept defeat, returning instead to the kind of rhetoric that incited the January 6 attack on Congress.” But it also had a word of advice for the Democrats: “There is no reason for the party to risk the stability and security of the country by forcing voters to choose between Mr. Trump’s deficiencies and those of Mr. Biden. It’s too big a bet to simply hope Americans will overlook or discount Mr. Biden’s age and infirmity that they see with their own eyes.”

The Washington Post editorial said, “Mr. Biden bowing out would not guarantee a Democratic victory in November. History does not provide any precise precedents” and took to examples from the past, way back from 1952 and 1968, when the then Republican challengers prevailed after the then incumbent presidents opted out not to seek re-election.

The editorials had all but warnings for a danger supposedly clear and present.

The Los Angeles Times said, “For the rest of the campaign, Biden needs to do more — and not just on the debate stage — to defend his record in the authoritative way he did at this year’s State of the Union address. The stakes for the nation are too high.” The warning by the NYT was even clearer.

“If he (Trump) is returned to office, he has vowed to be a different kind of president, unrestrained by the checks on power built into the American political system,” the NYT Editorial Board warned about Trump and later added: “If the race comes down to a choice between Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden, the sitting president would be this board’s unequivocal pick. That is how much of a danger Mr. Trump poses.”

Published 29 June 2024, 17:35 IST

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