I’m not leaving, Biden says, as pressure to drop out grows

USA: US President Joe Biden worked to calm senior Democrats and staff on his campaign on Wednesday, as reports suggested he was weighing his future after his disastrous debate with Donald Trump last week.

Mr Biden held a closed-door lunch with Vice-President Kamala Harris at the White House as speculation mounted over whether she would replace him as the party’s candidate in November’s election.

The pair then joined a call with the broader Democratic campaign where Mr Biden made clear he would remain in the race and Ms Harris reiterated her support. “I’m the nominee of the Democratic Party. No one’s pushing me out. I’m not leaving,” he told the call, a source told BBC News.

That same phrase was repeated in a fundraising email sent out a few hours later by the Biden-Harris campaign. “Let me say this as clearly and simply as I can: I’m running,” Mr Biden said in the email, adding that he was “in this race until the end”.

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Questions have been swirling around whether the 81-year-old will continue with his campaign following the debate with Trump, which was marked by verbal blanks, a weak voice and some answers which were difficult to follow. It sparked concern in Democratic circles around his fitness for office and his ability to win the election.

Pressure on Mr Biden to drop out has only grown in the days since as more polls indicate his Republican rival’s lead has widened. A New York Times poll conducted after the debate, which was published on Wednesday, suggested Trump was now holding his biggest lead yet at six points.

And a separate poll published by the BBC’s US partner CBS News suggested Trump has a three-point lead over Biden in the crucial battleground states. That poll also indicated the former president was leading nationally.

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