“Great sadness”: Democrats at a loss after crisis meeting over Biden


Lerato Khumalo

Joe Biden is increasingly being criticized. Prominent supporters are calling for his resignation. But the US president is responding with a fierce attack. All information in the news blog.

19:17: After a meeting of Democratic representatives in the US Congress on the political future of US President Joe Biden, several parliamentarians expressed their disillusionment. Representative Sean Casten spoke of “great sadness” over the party’s dilemma as to whether to continue supporting the 81-year-old in the election campaign. When asked whether the Democrats were reading from the same page, Representative Steve Cohen from the state of Tennessee answered in the negative. “We’re not even reading from the same book.”

US journalist Kadia Goba quotes one of the participants as saying: “Morale is at an all-time low.” When asked whether the mood could be compared to a funeral, the participant replied: “That would be an insult to funerals.”

Even if no other members of Congress openly opposed Biden after the important meeting, enthusiasm was limited. The left-wing Democrat Ro Khanna from the state of California complained that Biden did not listen enough to the young people in the party and relied on his family and advisers when it came to the question of whether he should stay in the race. Khanna also stressed, however, that the Democrats must stand together behind a candidate, “no matter who that is”. Biden confidant Jim Clyburn, on the other hand, spoke of a “very positive” atmosphere at the meeting.

12.13 pm: With regard to the NATO summit in Washington, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) is not concerned about Joe Biden’s physical condition. The US President has prepared the summit very well and very precisely together with Germany, said the Chancellor immediately before his departure for Washington. Many decisions and preparations were developed in close cooperation. “In this respect, it will also be a very successful summit,” stressed Scholz.

5.30 am: A media report about visits by a Parkinson’s specialist to the White House sparked a heated exchange between the press present and US President Biden’s spokeswoman. “Has the President been treated for Parkinson’s? No. Is he being treated for Parkinson’s? No, he is not. Is he taking medication for Parkinson’s? No,” said spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre. At the same time, she called on the journalists present to behave respectfully. There was no reason to question them in this “aggressive manner,” she said at one point to journalist Ed O’Keefe from the US broadcaster CBS.

The New York Times had previously reported, citing official visitor logs, that a Parkinson’s expert had visited the White House eight times since last summer. The newspaper went on to write that it was unclear whether the doctor from Walter Reed Military Hospital was in the government headquarters specifically because of the president, or whether he was there for other purposes. According to the newspaper, the expert himself stated that he worked as a “neurological adviser to the White House Medical Department and physician to the president” from 2012 to 2022. According to the newspaper, documents show that the expert also visited the White House during this time.