Pelosi refuses to say she's endorsing Biden as Democratic nominee

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) speaks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol during the presidential debate between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump on Friday, June 28, 2024.

Tom Williams | Cq-roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

Former Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday declined to explicitly endorse President Joe Biden as the party's presidential nominee, urging her congressional colleagues to make no further public statements, either for or against Biden.

“Let's wait a minute. Whatever you think, tell someone privately, but you don't have to put it on the table until we see how it goes this week,” Pelosi he said on the MSNBC program “Morning Joe.”

The comments were notable because Biden has repeatedly stressed that he will not withdraw from the race against former President Donald Trump and said his decision is final.

Pelosi's carefully worded comments indicate she is convinced Biden is still deciding whether or not he wants to remain at the top of the list.

“It's up to the president to decide whether he will run,” Pelosi said. “We all encourage him to make that decision, because time is running out.”

Pelosi has long been one of Biden's staunchest allies in Congress, so her refusal to endorse Biden as the nominee — as dozens of Democrats have already done — sparked an uproar at the Capitol on Wednesday.

Pelosi's comments came two weeks after Biden went to great lengths to prove to Democrats and voters that his faltering, lackluster June 27 debate performance was merely “an episode,” as Pelosi put it last week, and not evidence of “a condition.” So far, Biden's public statements have done little to assuage Democrats' concerns about his health.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Biden said in an interview this week, also on “Morning Joe.” “I absolutely believe I am the best candidate to beat Donald Trump in 2024.”

That's why Biden's NATO summits this week in Washington come with the added pressure to prove to Democrats that he is fit enough to defeat Trump in November and serve a second four-year term.

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The pressure on Biden to deliver redemptive public performances this week is mounting as the voices calling for him to withdraw grow louder.

On Tuesday, Senator Michael BennetD-Colo., became the first Democratic senator to publicly announce that he does not believe the president can beat Trump. He stopped short of officially calling on him to withdraw from the race.

On the other side of Capitol Hill, the pressure has been more open. Also Tuesday, House Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., became the latest in a growing list of House Democrats to officially urge the president to leave the race.

In private meetings and phone calls, even more Democratic lawmakers, donors and strategists have raised concerns about Biden's fitness to wage a grueling campaign and then, if he wins in November, spend another four years in the White House.

In response to Pelosi's comments, the Biden campaign pointed to a letter the president sent to congressional Democrats on Monday in which he reiterated his commitment to staying in the race and urged lawmakers to rally behind him. The campaign also provided a list of Democratic lawmakers who have made public statements supporting Biden.

CNBC's Josephine Rozzelle contributed to this report.

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