New York Times editorial board calls on US President Biden to drop out of 2024 race


The New York Times editorial board called on President Joe Biden to drop out of the 2024 presidential race, in a move likely to fuel a raging debate over his fitness to serve that was sparked by his stumbling performance on the debate stage Thursday.

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“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,” the editorial board wrote in a column published Friday. “But the greatest public service Mr. Biden can now perform is to announce that he will not continue to run for re-election.”

The blunt assessment of Biden’s ability to serve by one of the largest and most influential newspapers in the country is a significant blow to his reelection, coming only hours after the president sought to assuage doubts about his fitness by declaring at a rally in North Carolina that he doesn’t debate as well as he used to, but knows how to tell the truth.

The New York Times’ decision to become the first national paper since Biden’s debate to call for a “stronger opponent” against Trump caps off a day of Biden-sympathizing columnists urging him to step aside. Both the editorial board and several columnists were keen to praise Biden’s decades-long career and noted his original decision to run in order to protect the soul of the country.

Nonetheless, the Times’ editorial board was unsparing. While Biden would be its “unequivocal” choice against Trump because of the danger the former president poses, the president needed to step aside because he failed his own tests, created for himself: that he is the most electable candidate to defeat the “threat of tyranny” represented by Trump and his challenging of Trump to the debate based on his preferred date and rules.

Instead, Biden created a vacuum for other potential candidates to show that they, too, could prosecute Trump, the editorial board wrote — and affirmed long-held concerns about his limited public appearances that couldn’t be swatted away by a “supposed cold” or “bad night.” Above all, Biden did not explain what he would pursue in a second term or why he was able to combat Trump, it said.

“More than once, he struggled to make it to the end of a sentence,” the board added.

In response to a request for comment, campaign co-chair Cedric Richmond appeared to reference the board’s endorsement in the 2020 Democratic primary: “The last time Joe Biden lost the New York Times editorial board’s endorsement it turned out pretty well for him.”

The board, which consists of 14 opinion writers, urged the Democratic Party to pick a new nominee. It also sought to bat away many of the potential responses from Democrats, including the notion that a new candidate is not possible given the stage of the campaign and that the debate was simply a blip for a man with a lifetime of setbacks and a presidency of accomplishments.

The Times also recast Biden’s decision in terms of Republicans’ incapacity to respond to a “disqualifying” performance by Trump, writing that the Democrats had to “deal truthfully” with the American public.

“The burden rests on the Democratic Party to put the interests of the nation above the ambitions of a single man,” the board wrote.

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