Senator Peter Welch is the first senator to call on Biden to resign

Sen. Peter Welch (Vt.) is the first Democratic senator to call on President Biden to resign after his June debate.

“We cannot undo President Biden’s disastrous debate performance,” the freshman senator wrote in a Washington Post op-ed published Wednesday night. “We cannot ignore or dismiss the legitimate questions that have been asked since that night.

“For the good of the country, I am calling on President Biden to withdraw from the race,” Welch said.

The senator pointed to polling shifts in Minnesota, New Hampshire, Nevada, Arizona and Georgia to argue that the political danger was too great for Biden to stay in the race because of the risk that Donald Trump would win.

Democratic lawmakers continue to question Biden’s viability as a candidate and are panicking about their party’s prospects in the fall. Twelve members of the House of Representatives have called on Biden to step aside. Several senators in a closed-door meeting Tuesday expressed concern that Biden has no path to victory in 2024 and that his unpopularity risks Democrats losing both the House and Senate. Sen. Michael Bennett (D-Colo.) said in an interview with CNN Tuesday night that he feared Trump would win in a “landslide,” but he stopped short of calling on Biden to step aside.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also urged Biden in a TV interview on Wednesday to decide quickly whether to run, despite Biden's insistence that he will remain in the race.

“We all encourage him to make that decision, because time is running out,” Pelosi said.

On Thursday, top Biden officials Mike Donilon, Jen O'Malley Dillon and Steve Ricchetti will brief Senate Democrats at a luncheon held by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) invited them to discuss his group's concerns.

“As I have made clear repeatedly, publicly and privately, I support President Biden and remain committed to ensuring Donald Trump is defeated in November,” Schumer said in a statement Wednesday night.

The position puts Welch at odds with his Vermont colleague, Sen. Bernie Sanders, who told reporters on Wednesday that he believed Biden could win and has urged people to focus on Biden's policies.

Earlier Wednesday, Welch said he hoped Biden would decide to drop out of the race after seeing the polling data. “President Biden has made it clear he's all in, but the evidence continues to come in about how an uphill battle turns into an uphill battle,” the senator said.

Biden has let Democrats on Hill know that he is running and that he wants the debate over his candidacy to end.

“I am determined to stay in this race, see this race through to the end, and defeat Donald Trump,” he wrote to them in a letter sent Monday.

On Wednesday, David Wasserman, an analyst at Cook Political Report, said described Trump's lead in the polls after the debate is “the most dramatic shift in the race this year.”

In his op-ed, Welch praised Biden for his years of service, saying he has “united” the party and helped create a bench of elected officials who can defeat Trump. He called Vice President Harris a “capable” leader and also praised other unnamed Democratic governors and senators.

“I understand why President Biden wants to run,” he wrote. “He saved us from Donald Trump once and wants to do it again. But he needs to reevaluate whether he is the best candidate to do that. In my opinion, he is not.”

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