Decision 2024

Rep. Mike Quigley calls on President Joe Biden to drop out of presidential race

On the same night, ABC News aired an exclusive interview with President Biden, during which he blamed the debate performance on a “bad episode," saying there were “no indications of any serious condition.”

Rep. Mike Quigley (IL-05)
Susan Walsh/AP

U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley became Illinois' first congressional Democrat to urge President Joe Biden to step down following last week's shaky debate performance against former President Donald Trump.

Quigley, who represents Illinois' 5th congressional district, including most of Chicago's North Side, made the statement on MSNBC's "All In With Chris Hayes."

"I'd say, Mr. President, your legacy is set," Quigley stated, in part. "We owe you the greatest debt of gratitude, the only thing you can do now to cement that for all time and prevent utter catastrophe is to step down and let someone else do this..."

Following Quigley's comments, ABC News aired an exclusive interview with the president, during which he blamed the debate performance on a “bad episode," saying there were “no indications of any serious condition.”

Biden fought to save his endangered reelection effort, but repeatedly rejected taking an independent medical evaluation that would show voters he is up for serving another term in office.

“Look, I have a cognitive test every single day,” Biden told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, referring to the tasks he faces daily in a rigorous job. “Every day, I’ve had tests. Everything I do.”

He insisted that he was not more frail and that he is “still in good shape.” He said he has an “ongoing assessment” by his personal doctors and they “don’t hesitate to tell me” if something is wrong.

While private angst among Democratic lawmakers, donors and strategists is running deep, most in the party have held public fire as they wait to see if the president can restore confidence with his weekend travel and his handling of the interview, airing in full Friday night.

Quigley and at least three other House Democrats have called for Biden to step down as the nominee.

Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton, Texas Rep. Lloyd Doggett and Arizona Rep. Raúl Grijalva have also pushed for an alternative.

Many Democratic lawmakers, who are hearing from constituents at home during the holiday week, are deeply frustrated yet split on whether Biden should stay or go. Privately, discussions among the House Democrats flared this week as word spread that some of them were drafting public letters suggesting the president should quit the race.

Yet pushback from other House Democrats was fierce.

“Any ‘leader’ signing a letter calling for President Biden to drop out needs to get their priorities straight and stop undermining this incredible actual leader who has delivered real results for our country,” said Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., an influential member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

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