Coons: Biden is ‘the only Democrat who can beat Donald Trump’

Written by on June 30, 2024

ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., a top ally to President Joe Biden and the national co-chair of his reelection campaign, insisted the president is the only Democrat who can defeat former President Donald Trump later this year despite his debate performance Thursday.

Coons cited Biden’s 2020 victory to repeatedly dismiss concerns from editorial boards and other writers worrying about Biden’s ability to defeat Trump after concerns over the president’s age spiked during his halting debate delivery.

“It is always a bad bet to bet against Joe Biden. I was with him when he announced in Philadelphia in 2019, and most of my colleagues said, ‘Oh, he’s too centrist, he’s too white, he’s too moderate. And I was with him in New Hampshire when folks counted him out in the primaries, and I was with him when he was sworn in as president,” he told “This Week” co-anchor Jonathan Karl.

“The stakes of this race couldn’t be higher, and the only Democrat who’s ever beaten Donald Trump is Joe Biden. He is our candidate for November and he has the best shot to beat him,” he added.

When pressed by Karl on whether he truly believes Biden is the only Democrat who can win in November, Coons responded, “I think he’s the only Democrat who can beat Donald Trump.”

Coons’ boasts come as the chorus for Biden’s withdrawal from the race grows from Democrats and outside observers.

Biden’s halting performance Thursday, which included meandering answers and a slack-jawed appearance as he listened to Trump’s answers, underscored what polls show are significant voter worries about his age (he’s 81) and fitness for office, including from supporters.

“Mr. Biden has said that he is the candidate with the best chance of taking on this threat of tyranny and defeating it. His argument rests largely on the fact that he beat Mr. Trump in 2020,” The New York Times Editorial Board wrote. “That is no longer a sufficient rationale for why Mr. Biden should be the Democratic nominee this year.”

“I cannot remember a more heartbreaking moment in American presidential campaign politics in my lifetime,” columnist Thomas Friedman wrote, adding that Biden, a “a good man and a good president, has no business running for reelection.”

Biden’s campaign has vociferously pushed back on that pressure, insisting that Biden will remain in the race and that Trump, who spewed multiple falsehoods during the debate, had a worse showing.

To beef up its claims, the campaign is also releasing strong fundraising numbers as the days go on, including saying Sunday that it has raised more than $33 million since Thursday.

The president also gave a stronger defense of his record during a campaign rally in North Carolina on Friday, though that event drew significantly fewer eyeballs than a national debate simulcast across major television networks seen by more than 50 million viewers, according to Nielsen data.

The most prominent Democrats, though, have yet to defect. Multiple governors and Vice President Kamala Harris, all viewed as future presidential hopefuls, have come out in line behind Biden, which Coons contrasted with Trump, who has not won the support of many of his top aides from his administration.

When pressed on if Biden’s aides are to blame for his faulty performance, Coons did not shy away from how Biden came across but said nobody would be able to pressure the president out of the race.

“I think it was a weak debate performance by President Biden. He had a scratchy, rough voice. He answered a few questions in ways that were not the most forceful, but I think side by side, Donald Trump had a horrifying debate performance,” Coons said. “I do think it’s for Joe Biden to make any decision about his campaign, his debate prep, his path forward.”

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