BENNET BECOMES FIRST DEMOCRATIC SENATOR TO PUBLICLY TURN ON BIDEN, WARNING OF A GOP ‘LANDSLIDE’

Sen. Michael Bennet on Tuesday became the first Democratic senator to publicly say he doesn’t believe President Joe Biden is capable of winning reelection after his disastrous debate performance last month.

“Donald Trump is on track, I think, to win this election, and maybe win it by a landslide, and take with him the Senate and the House,” he told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins. “So for me, this isn’t a question about polling. It’s not a question about politics. It’s a moral question about the future of our country.”

“The White House, in the time since that disastrous debate, I think, has done nothing to really demonstrate that they have a plan to win this election,” the Colorado Democrat said.

His comments underscore a growing concern among congressional Democrats that Biden’s reelection bid could hurt the party in down-ballot races this fall. Democrats, including those inside the administration, view this week as critical to Biden’s political survival, and lawmakers on Capitol Hill gathered privately for their weekly meetings on Tuesday. Neither House nor Senate Democrats emerged from their meetings with a consensus on how to move forward, though it was clear that concerns had been aired behind closed doors.

Bennet, who stopped short of calling on Biden to withdraw, also warned on “The Source” about what’s at stake in the 2024 election, saying that losing the House and Senate to Republicans would be “an American tragedy.”

“The stakes could not be higher,” he said.

Bennet said his voters have “deep concerns” about whether Biden can win and urged the White House to not ignore worries about his viability.

Bennet’s comments confirm earlier CNN reporting that Bennet told his colleagues during the private meeting between Senate Democrats Tuesday that he does not think Biden can win.

Biden’s performance at the CNN debate in June kicked off a flurry of concern over his mental fitness and the viability of his campaign. While several House Democrats have publicly called on Biden to drop out of the race, the president has vowed to continue. He told congressional Democrats in a letter on Monday “that despite all the speculation in the press and elsewhere,” he is “fully committed to staying in this race, to running this race to the end, and to beating Donald Trump.”

Responding to Bennet’s comments, Biden campaign spokesperson Kevin Munoz said in a statement to CNN: “This was always going to be a close race – and the dynamics at play are the ones we’ve long anticipated: voters continue to be deeply concerned by Donald Trump and his harmful agenda, and the more we engage and reach out to voters, the more they support President Biden.”

“There are a lot of days between now and election day, and the hard work of earning every single vote is far from over,” he added.

CNN previously reported Sens. Sherrod Brown and Jon Tester also said Biden would not win during the meeting in the Capitol, according to a source familiar. Another source confirmed that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told senators at the meeting they should speak with the White House directly. Other senators also said they believed the administration is more receptive to hearing from senators directly.

After the meeting ended, many Democratic senators declined to talk to reporters. Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, an ally of Biden, was asked if a consensus had been reached in the meeting but only said that “it was a constructive conversation.”

CNN’s Dana Bash and Ted Barrett contributed to this report.

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2024-07-10T04:04:58Z dg43tfdfdgfd