Politics

Here’s what NY’s House and Senate Dems are saying about Biden

Should he stay or should he go? Members of the state’s congressional delegation are weighing in on the question dividing Democrats.

Rep. Jerry Nadler reportedly expressed reservations about Biden in private, but publicly has supported the president.

Rep. Jerry Nadler reportedly expressed reservations about Biden in private, but publicly has supported the president. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

In the aftermath of President Joe Biden’s horrible showing at the first presidential debate, the president has faced a small rebellion from within the Democratic ranks. A recent New York Times/Siena College poll found that the majority of registered voters – including 53% of Black voters, 83% of Hispanic voters, 84% of young voters, 59% of Democrats and 61% of Biden’s own supporters – believe Biden is too old to be an effective president. And a handful of Democratic elected officials have called on Biden to drop out of the race, arguing that Vice President Kamala Harris would be more likely to beat former President Donald Trump in November. 

But Biden has repeatedly said that he will not exit the race, and many Democrats in Congress are sticking by him – at least publicly. Here’s what New York’s congressional representatives and U.S. senators are saying about the president. This article was last updated on July 11.

WANT BIDEN TO DROP OUT

Two of the state’s House Democrats have suggested publicly that Biden should drop out.

Rep. Pat Ryan said on July 10 that Biden should drop out of the race. “Joe Biden is a patriot but is no longer the best candidate to defeat Trump,” he wrote in a post on X. ”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.” Ryan represents the 18th Congressional District, a swing district in the Hudson Valley, and he faces a challenge from Republican Alison Esposito. 

Rep. Joe Morelle reportedly said that Biden should drop out during a phone call with leading House Democrats on July 7. Morelle, who represents the 25th Congressional District around Rochester, told reporters on July 8 that Biden has not yet demonstrated that he can continue to serve as president. “Are Americans convinced that you’re in the kind of shape to both stand for the campaign, but more importantly, can you continue to serve as president?” he said, according to Semafor. “I think that’s the challenge. I don’t think he’s met that challenge yet. He needs to continue to work at it.”

STILL SIDIN’ WITH BIDEN

Both of New York’s senators and seven of the state’s 16 House Democrats have publicly defended Biden and said that the Democratic Party must accept that he will remain the nominee.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is sticking with Biden. “As I’ve said before, I’m with Joe,” Schumer said on July 8 while walking into the Capitol. After Axios reported that he had privately signaled to donors that he was open to replacing Biden at the top of the ticket, Schumer reaffirmed his support for the president. “As I have made clear repeatedly publicly and privately, I support President Biden and remain committed to ensuring Donald Trump is defeated in November,” he said on July 10.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand also defended Biden. “I continue to have confidence in President Biden and his ability to beat Donald Trump this November,” she said in a statement on July 8.

Rep. Greg Meeks said during an MSNBC interview on July 8 that Biden was a “strong leader” and the “best representative” for the U.S., dismissing calls that he should drop out of the presidential race. Meeks, the chair of the Queens Democratic Party, represents the 4th Congressional District in eastern Queens.

Rep. Grace Meng told City & State that she fully supports Biden staying in the presidential race for “as long as he decides to.” Meng, who represents the 6th Congressional District in Queens, has been one of the president’s staunchest defenders. “I’m proud to serve on the National Advisory Board for Biden-Harris 2024 because I know what millions of Democratic primary voters know: Joe Biden will lead us to victory,” she said in a statement released July 8. “It’s past time we all do what Congressional Democrats have been doing for years. Let’s focus on the work ahead and get ready to beat Trump and MAGA extremists in November by re-electing President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.”

Rep. Nydia Velázquez released a statement on July 9 in support of Biden: “Democratic voters have spoken, and President Biden was the overwhelming choice to lead our party. I support Joe Biden, and it is time to focus on reelecting him in November.” Velázquez represents the 7th Congressional District in Brooklyn and Queens.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries has spent most of the time since the debate taking the temperature of his conference. Publicly, he has stood by Biden. “I made clear the day after the debate, publicly, that I support President Joe Biden and the Democratic ticket,” he told reporters on July 8. “My position has not changed.” Jeffries represents the 8th Congressional District in Central Brooklyn.

Rep. Dan Goldman released a statement praising Biden on July 8: “Joe Biden has been an outstanding president who has preserved democracy at home and abroad. The candidate who should drop out is the twice-impeached convicted felon who has vowed to destroy our democracy.” Goldman represents the 10th Congressional District in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Rep. Adriano Espaillat released a statement on July 8 reiterating his support for the president: “I know Joe and have witnessed firsthand the progress we have made since he first took office. He was fit then, and he is fit now, and I remain steadfast in my support.” Espaillat represents the 13th Congressional District in Upper Manhattan and serves as the deputy chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which is also backing Biden’s continued presence at the top of the Democratic ticket. 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told reporters on July 8 that there was no question Biden would remain the nominee and the party should rally around him. “I have spoken with him extensively. He made clear then and he has made clear since that he is in this race. The matter is closed. … Joe Biden is our nominee, he is not leaving this race, he is in this race and I support him,” she said at an impromptu press gaggle outside the Capitol. Ocasio-Cortez, who represents the 14th Congressional District in Western Queens and the Bronx, is also a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, but her firm support for Biden puts her at odds with the socialist organization, which has demanded that Biden drop out of the race.

Rep. Tim Kennedy said the day after the debate on June 26 that he supports Biden remaining at the top of the ticket. “I think President Biden is the nominee of our party at the moment, and he will be in November and we're going to back him 100% … I believe America will stand up for democracy and what's right and re-elect President Biden this November,” he said in an interview with WBEN. Kennedy represents the 26th Congressional District around Buffalo.

UNCLEAR

Rep. Jerry Nadler said on July 9 that Biden will be the nominee and Democrats have to support him – a shift from his position two days earlier, when he reportedly said on a call with leading House Democrats that Biden should drop out of the race. “What I’ll say is that the president made very clear yesterday that he’s running, and for me, that’s dispositive, we have to support him,” Nadler told reporters. “Whether or not I have concerns is besides the point,” he added. Nadler represents the 12th Congressional District in Manhattan.

Rep. Ritchie Torres released a statement on July 10 that made no mention of Biden but encouraged Democrats to select a presidential nominee who would not hurt down-ballot candidates. “In determining how to proceed as a party, there must be a serious reckoning with the down-ballot effect of whoever we nominate. What matters is not how we feel but what the numbers tell us,” he said. “An unsentimental analysis of the cold hard numbers – which have no personal feelings or political loyalties – should inform what we decide and who we nominate. If we’re going to choose a particular path, we must be clear-eyed about its consequences. Blindness is not bliss amid the terrifying threat of a Trump presidency.”

Torres, who represents the 15th Congressional District in the South Bronx, previously released a statement warning that criticism of Biden would only strengthen Trump in November. “Regardless of where one stands on the question of President Biden’s political future, the intra-party mixed messaging strikes me as deeply self-destructive,” he said on July 8. “Weakening a weakened nominee seems like a losing strategy for a presidential election. The piling-on is not so much solving a problem as much as it is creating and compounding one. The process by which we decide how to move forward matters as much as the decision itself.”

NO COMMENT

Rep. Tom Suozzi represents the 3rd Congressional District on Long Island.

Rep. Nydia Velázquez represents the 7th Congressional District in Brooklyn and Queens.

Rep. Yvette Clarke represents the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman represents the 16th Congressional District in the Bronx and Westchester County.

Rep. Paul Tonko represents the 20th Congressional District around Albany.