More Democrats in Congress Call on Joe Biden to End His Reelection Bid

US President Joe Biden speaks during a bilateral meeting with UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer at the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 10 July 2024. (EPA)
US President Joe Biden speaks during a bilateral meeting with UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer at the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 10 July 2024. (EPA)
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More Democrats in Congress Call on Joe Biden to End His Reelection Bid

US President Joe Biden speaks during a bilateral meeting with UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer at the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 10 July 2024. (EPA)
US President Joe Biden speaks during a bilateral meeting with UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer at the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 10 July 2024. (EPA)

A growing number of Democrats in Congress are calling on Democratic President Joe Biden to end his reelection bid after the 81-year-old incumbent's halting debate performance against Republican rival Donald Trump.

While many lawmakers have expressed unease with Biden's continued candidacy - and others have steadfastly backed the incumbent's plans - here is a list of those who have publicly and directly called for Biden to not run again.

SENATOR PETER WELCH

"For the good of the country, I'm calling on President Biden to withdraw from the race," the senator from Vermont wrote in an opinion piece in the Washington Post. Welch was the first Democratic US senator to call on Biden to step aside as candidate.

REPRESENTATIVE PAT RYAN

"Joe Biden is a patriot but is no longer the best candidate to defeat Trump," Ryan, who flipped a Republican-held New York district in 2019, said in a social media post. "For the good of our country, I am asking Joe Biden to step aside - to deliver on his promise to be a bridge to a new generation of leaders."

REPRESENTATIVE MIKIE SHERRILL

"Because I know President Biden cares deeply about the future of our country, I am asking that he declare that he won’t run for reelection and will help lead us through a process toward a new nominee," Sherrill, of New Jersey, said in a statement.

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SMITH

"President Biden should end his candidacy for a second term as President and release his delegates to the Democratic National Convention to enable the party to nominate a new candidate for President," Smith said in a statement. "The President’s performance in the debate was alarming to watch and the American people have made it clear they no longer see him as a credible candidate to serve four more years as President. Since the debate the President has not seriously addressed these concerns. This is unacceptable. The stakes are simply too high."

REPRESENTATIVE LLOYD DOGGETT

Doggett, a House member from a safe Democratic district in Texas, was the first congressional Democrat to call for Biden to step down.

"President Biden has continued to run substantially behind Democratic senators in key states and in most polls has trailed Donald Trump," Doggett said in a statement. "I had hoped that the debate would provide some momentum to change that. It did not."

REPRESENTATIVE RAUL GRIJALVA

Grijalva, a liberal who represents a district in southern Arizona along the border with Mexico, told the New York Times it was time for Biden to end his campaign, saying, "If he's the candidate, I'm going to support him, but I think that this is an opportunity to look elsewhere." Grijalva representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

REPRESENTATIVE SETH MOULTON

Moulton, a Democrat from Massachusetts, praised Biden's service to the country but told a local radio show that the president should follow in "George Washington's footsteps and step aside to let new leaders rise up and run against Donald Trump."

REPRESENTATIVE MIKE QUIGLEY

A moderate from Illinois, Quigley said Biden must step aside and "let someone else do this" or risk "utter catastrophe."

REPRESENTATIVE ANGIE CRAIG

Craig, whose district in Minnesota is considered a top priority for Republicans to win back in November, was the first incumbent from a highly competitive district to call for Biden to step down.

"Given what I saw and heard from the president during last week's debate in Atlanta, coupled with the lack of a forceful response from the president himself following that debate, I do not believe that the president can effectively campaign and win against Donald Trump," Craig said.

REPRESENTATIVE EARL BLUMENAUER

"The question before the country is whether the president should continue his candidacy for re-election. This is not just about extending his presidency but protecting democracy," Blumenauer said.

"While this is a decision for the president and the first lady, I hope they will come to the conclusion that I and others have: President Biden should not be the Democratic presidential nominee," he added.



For Palestinian Athletes, the Olympics is About More than Sports

Omar Ismail — who has visited relatives in Jenin — believes his mere participation symbolizes something larger than himself (The AP)
Omar Ismail — who has visited relatives in Jenin — believes his mere participation symbolizes something larger than himself (The AP)
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For Palestinian Athletes, the Olympics is About More than Sports

Omar Ismail — who has visited relatives in Jenin — believes his mere participation symbolizes something larger than himself (The AP)
Omar Ismail — who has visited relatives in Jenin — believes his mere participation symbolizes something larger than himself (The AP)

Most of the athletes representing the Palestinian territories at the Paris Olympics were born elsewhere — Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Germany, Chile and the United States — yet they care deeply about the politics of their parents’ and grandparents’ homeland.

They are eager to compete but say their presence at the Games isn’t only, or even primarily, about sports. With Israel and Hamas locked in a brutal war that has killed tens of thousands in Gaza, these eight athletes — two of whom hail from the West Bank — carry heavier burdens.

Yazan Al Bawwab, a 24-year-old swimmer who was born in Saudi Arabia and lives in Dubai, said he doesn't expect recognition for his performance in the pool. He uses swimming, he said, as a "tool for Palestine.”

“Unfortunately, nobody has ever asked me about my races. Nobody cares,” said al Bawwab, whose parents come from Jerusalem and Lod, a city that today is in central Israel. “I’m going to be plain and honest: France does not recognize Palestine as a country. But I’m over there, raising my flag. That’s my role.”

Omar Ismail, who was born in Dubai to parents who come from the West Bank town of Jenin, has loftier athletic ambitions. Shortly after earning his spot on the team at a taekwondo qualification tournament in China, the 18-year-old said he aims to win a gold medal in Paris.

But even if he does not earn a medal, Ismail — who has visited relatives in Jenin — believes his mere participation symbolizes something larger than himself, The AP reported.

“I represent the identity of the people in Palestine, their steadfastness,” Ismail said. “I’d like to inspire the children of Palestine, show them that each of them can achieve their goals, give them hope.”

Even under the best of circumstances, it is difficult to maintain a vibrant Olympics training program in Gaza, the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Nine months of war between Israel and Hamas has made that challenge next to impossible.

Much of the country’s sporting infrastructure, clubs and institutions have been demolished, said Nader Jayousi, the technical director at the Palestine Olympic Committee.

“Do you know how many approved pools there are in Palestine? Zero,” said al Bawaab, who noted that the Palestinian economy is too small and fragile to consistently support the development of elite athletes. “There is no sports in Palestine. We are a country right now that does not have enough food or shelter, and we are trying to figure out how to stay alive. We are not a sports country yet.”

The Palestinian diaspora has always played an important role at the Olympics and other international competitions, Jayousi said.

Jayousi said it’s not the first time that most of the athletes representing the POC come from abroad. He said the Palestinian diaspora is always represented at any big international sporting competition and Olympics.

More than 38,000 people have been killed in Gaza since the war between Israel and Hamas began, according to local health officials. Among those who died were about 300 athletes, referees, coaches and others working in Gaza's sports sector, according to Jayousi.

Perhaps the most prominent Palestinian athlete to die in the war was long-distance runner Majed Abu Maraheel, who in 1996 in Atlanta became the first Palestinian to compete in the Olympics. He died of kidney failure earlier this year after he was unable to be treated in Gaza and could not be evacuated to Egypt, Palestinian officials said.

Only one Palestinian athlete, Ismail, qualified for the Paris Games in his own right. The seven others gained their spots under a wild-card system delivered as part of the universality quota places.. Backed by the International Olympic Committee, it allows athletes who represent poorer nations with less-established sports programs to compete, even though they did not meet the sporting criteria.

“We had very high hopes that we would go to Paris 2024 with qualified athletes,” Jayousi, the team's technical director, said. “We lost lots of these chances because of the complete stoppage of every single activity in the country.”

Palestinian athletes will compete in boxing, judo, swimming, shooting, track and field and taekwondo.

There is a chance Palestinian athletes could compete against Israelis in Paris. The Israel Olympic Committee said it is sending 88 athletes to Paris, and that they would compete against athletes from anywhere.

Jayousi declined to say whether clear guidelines have been issued to Palestinian athletes about whether they would be expected — as a form of protest against the war in Gaza — to drop out of competition rather than face Israelis.

“Let's see what the draws will put our athletes against," he said. “We know what we want to do, but we don't have to say everything that we want to do.”

One Olympic hopeful who did not make the cut was Gaza-born weightlifter Mohammed Hamada, a flag bearer at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. When the war began, Hamada moved to Gaza's southernmost city of Rafah and trained there for 25 days. But because of the shortage of food, Hamada — who competed in the 102 kilograms (225 pounds) weight class — gradually lost about 18 kilograms (40 pounds).

Hamada eventually secured a visa to leave Gaza and moved to Qatar to continue his training. But, Jayousi said, he just couldn't get his body back to Olympic-level condition.

Jayousi said winning medals is not the top priority for the athletes who made it to Paris. (No Palestinian athlete has ever won an Olympic medal).

“We are going here to show our Palestinianism,” he said. “We are focused on fighting until the last second, which we have been doing as a nation for the last 80 years.”

Al Bawaab said he wants to empower the next generation of Palestinian athletes, in part by providing them with greater financial resources. He founded the Palestinian Olympians Association to help athletes prepare for sports and life beyond, including by providing them with mental-health support.

"We don’t have that sports culture yet,” al Bawaab said. “When I’m done swimming, we’ll hopefully get that rolling in the country. But you have to be safe first.”