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CDC Director Rochelle Walensky Resigns
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky will leave her post next month, citing in a Friday resignation letter the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I have never been prouder of anything I have done in my professional career,” Walensky, 54, wrote to President Biden, informing him that her last day will be June 30.

She added that she had “mixed feelings” about the move but noted that the end of pandemic-era emergency declarations was an appropriate moment to step down.

The president has yet to announce an interim director to replace the ex-Harvard Medical School infectious diseases specialist, who had no experience running a government health agency when she took office.

Walensky caught flak as leader of the CDC for having bungled the Biden administration’s COVID response on issues like school reopening, vaccination and mask mandates.

The Post has exclusively revealed through documents provided by government watchdog Americans for Public Trust that Walensky’s CDC let the American Federation of Teachers suggest language for guidelines that kept schools closed for in-person learning months after studies showed children were at low risk of transmitting the virus in classes.

Walensky’s predecessor, former CDC Director Robert Redfield, had claimed months before she assumed the role that it was safe for students to return to in-person instruction.

“I think it’s really important to get our schools open,” he told ABC’s “Good Morning America” in July 2020.

Walensky was also one of several members of the Biden administration who falsely claimed in 2021 that those who received the COVID vaccine couldn’t spread the virus.

The CDC director walked back that claim days later, admitting that “the evidence isn’t clear” and that she was “speaking broadly.”

The agency in the same year also removed mask mandates only to reintroduce them months later.

Last August, Walensky took responsibility for several “mistakes” during her tenure.

“For 75 years, CDC and public health have been preparing for COVID-19, and in our big moment, our performance did not reliably meet expectations,” she said in a statement.

Both the US and the World Health Organization no longer designate the COVID-19 pandemic as an emergency.

US deaths due to the virus have declined to their lowest point since the start of the pandemic.

White House chief of staff Jeff Zients said of Walensky in a statement: “Her creativity, skill and expertise, and pure grit were essential to our effective response and a historic recovery that made life better for Americans across the country.”

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Secret Service Director: Trump Assassination Attempt Agency’s Biggest ‘Failure’ in Decades

The director of the U.S. Secret Service told a House panel on Monday that her agency failed during the assassination attempt targeting former President Donald Trump.

“The Secret Service’s solemn mission is to protect our nation’s leaders. On July 13th, we failed. As the Director of the United States Secret Service, I take full responsibility for any security lapse,” Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle told the House Oversight Committee in prepared remarks after she was subpoenaed, adding that the shooting was the “most significant operational failure in decades.”

During the July 13 incident at a rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, a gunman fired at the former president, striking him in the right ear as well as killing one person and wounding two others.

“We must learn what happened and I will move heaven and earth to ensure an incident like July 13th does not happen again. Thinking about what we should have done differently is never far from my thoughts,” Ms. Cheatle said.

Her appearance before the panel occurred as numerous Republican lawmakers and at least one Democrat congressman have demanded that she resign from her position, saying that her agency did not do enough to provide security to the former president. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are among those who have called on Ms. Cheatle to step down.

The House Oversight panel’s chairman, Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), said Monday that the Secret Service underperformed in its “zero-fail mission,” saying there are questions that the agency “lacks the proper management” and also chided it for what he described as a lack of transparency. Instead of providing statements to the public, the Secret Service is delivering information through “whistleblowers” and “leaks” to the media, he said.

“It is my firm belief that … you should resign,” Mr. Comer told the agency director at the start of the hearing on Monday morning. “I urge Director Cheatle to be transparent in her testimony today,” he added.

However, in the midst of such pressure, Ms. Cheatle told ABC News in an interview last week that the shooting was “unacceptable,” stressing that her agency will cooperate with investigations and reviews into the near-assassination.

“I am the director of the Secret Service, and I need to make sure that we are performing a review and that we are giving resources to our personnel as necessary,” she told the network.

She also has, so far, resisted calls to step down, saying in an interview last week that “I do plan to stay on.”

The attack on Trump was the most serious attempt to assassinate a president or presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan was shot in 1981. It was the latest in a series of security lapses by the agency that has drawn investigations and public scrutiny over the years.

President Joe Biden has ordered an independent investigation. The Homeland Security Department and a bipartisan independent panel have said they are also investigating the matter.

On Sunday evening, Ms. Cheatle said in a statement that she would cooperate with the independent review carried out by a so-called “Blue Ribbon Panel.”

“I look forward to the panel examining what happened and providing recommendations to help ensure it will never happen again,” the director said.

Trump Says He Wasn’t Warned

In an interview over the weekend on Fox News, former President Trump said he was given no indication that law enforcement had identified a suspicious person when he took the stage in Pennsylvania. Some rallygoers said in interviews after the attempted assassination that they saw the gunman on the roof before the former president walked out onto the stage and had alerted law enforcement authorities on site.

In an interview with Fox News host Jesse Watters, former President Trump said, “No, nobody mentioned it, nobody said there was a problem” before he took the stage and a gunman opened fire.

“They could’ve said, ‘Let’s wait for 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 5 minutes, something.’ Nobody said. I think that was a mistake,” the former president said.

He also questioned the security lapses and how the gunman was able to access the roof of the building. “How did somebody get on that roof? And why wasn’t he reported? Because people saw that he was on the roof,” he said. “So you would’ve thought someone would’ve done something about it.”

Local law enforcement officers had seen the man and deemed him suspicious enough to put out an alert on a tactical channel and witnesses reported seeing him scaling the building.

After the shooting, the FBI identified Thomas Matthew Crooks, 20, as the suspect. He was shot and killed by a Secret Service sniper moments after he opened fire.

Watch:

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Obama Does Not Endorse Kamala Harris for President

Former President Barack Obama did not endorse Vice President Kamala Harris on Sunday to be the Democrat Party’s presidential nominee after President Joe Biden announced that he was ending his reelection campaign.

Obama praised Biden in a lengthy statement for his “remarkable career in public service,” and said that he had “every right to run for re-election and finish the job he started.”

Read Obama’s full statement:

Joe Biden has been one of America’s most consequential presidents, as well as a dear friend and partner to me. Today, we’ve also been reminded — again — that he’s a patriot of the highest order.

Sixteen years ago, when I began my search for a vice president, I knew about Joe’s remarkable career in public service. But what I came to admire even more was his character — his deep empathy and hard-earned resilience; his fundamental decency and belief that everyone counts.

Since taking office, President Biden has displayed that character again and again. He helped end the pandemic, created millions of jobs, lowered the cost of prescription drugs, passed the first major piece of gun safety legislation in 30 years, made the biggest investment to address climate change in history, and fought to ensure the rights of working people to organize for fair wages and benefits. Internationally, he restored America’s standing in the world, revitalized NATO, and mobilized the world to stand up against Russian aggression in Ukraine.

More than that, President Biden pointed us away from the four years of chaos, falsehood, and division that had characterized Donald Trump’s administration. Through his policies and his example, Joe has reminded us of who we are at our best — a country committed to old-fashioned values like trust and honesty, kindness and hard work; a country that believes in democracy, rule of law, and accountability; a country that insists that everyone, no matter who they are, has a voice and deserves a chance at a better life.

This outstanding track record gave President Biden every right to run for re-election and finish the job he started. Joe understands better than anyone the stakes in this election — how everything he has fought for throughout his life, and everything that the Democratic Party stands for, will be at risk if we allow Donald Trump back in the White House and give Republicans control of Congress.

I also know Joe has never backed down from a fight. For him to look at the political landscape and decide that he should pass the torch to a new nominee is surely one of the toughest in his life. But I know he wouldn’t make this decision unless he believed it was right for America. It’s a testament to Joe Biden’s love of country — and a historic example of a genuine public servant once again putting the interests of the American people ahead of his own that future generations of leaders will do well to follow.

We will be navigating uncharted waters in the days ahead. But I have extraordinary confidence that the leaders of our party will be able to create a process from which an outstanding nominee emerges. I believe that Joe Biden’s vision of a generous, prosperous, and united America that provides opportunity for everyone will be on full display at the Democratic Convention in August. And I expect that every single one of us are prepared to carry that message of hope and progress forward into November and beyond.

For now, Michelle and I just want to express our love and gratitude to Joe and Jill for leading us so ably and courageously during these perilous times — and for their commitment to the ideals of freedom and equality that this country was founded on.

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Trump and JD Vance Accuse Dems of Leading ‘Coup’ Against Biden, Call to ‘Invoke the 25th Amendment’

Former President Donald Trump and his running mate, JD Vance, slammed the Democratic Party for leading a “coup” against President Biden — with the Ohio senator saying that if Biden isn’t fit to run for president, he shouldn’t be able to serve the rest of his term.

The GOP ticket commented on Biden’s seemingly declining condition and the news that he would not be running for re-election in a clip that aired Monday morning on Fox News, telling “Primetime” host Jesse Watters that Biden shouldn’t get to step down in a way that is only beneficial to his party.

When asked if Biden’s dropping out of the election was a “coup against Joe Biden,” Trump quietly replied with “Sort of,” before Vance jumped in.

“Yeah, I think it is. I mean, look, there’s a constitutional process, the 25th Amendment. If Joe Biden can’t run for president, he can’t serve as president,” Vance replied.

Vance continued voicing his opinion, saying, “And if they want to take him down because he’s mentally incapable of serving, invoke the 25th Amendment. You don’t get to sort of do this in the most politically beneficial way for Democrats. If it’s an actual problem, they should take care of it the appropriate way.”

The interview was taped Saturday before news broke Sunday that Biden was withdrawing from the 2024 general election and endorsing Vice President Kamala Harris as the presumptive new Democratic nominee.

The Ohio senator expressed a similar sentiment hours before Biden’s announcement, writing on social media that if the president wasn’t fit to campaign, he should not be trusted to remain in the White House.

“Not running for reelection would be a clear admission that President Trump was right all along about Biden not being mentally fit enough to serve as Commander-in-Chief,” Vance wrote on X.

“There is no middle ground,” he continued.

During the interview, Trump agreed when asked by Watters if he would investigate the “people that hid Joe Biden’s condition,” including the White House doctors who “keep giving him this wonderful report.”

Watch:

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Axios: Biden Delayed Dropping Out Because He Doubted Kamala Could Win

President Biden hesitated to drop his re-election campaign in part because he and his senior advisers worried that Vice President Kamala Harris wasn’t up to taking on Donald Trump, according to three Biden aides familiar with recent talks about his plans.

Biden, 81, ultimately decided to withdraw under pressure from the party and endorsed Harris, but his private anxieties reflect broader questions among some Democratic leaders about Harris as their nominee this November.

This next week will be critical for Harris, 59, to prove doubters wrong as she moves quickly to try to clear the field of potential challengers for the Democratic nomination.

Biden, Bill and Hillary Clinton and many Democratic lawmakers quickly endorsed Harris, but others — including former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and former President Barack Obama — did not immediately do so.

“We will be navigating uncharted waters in the days ahead,” Obama said in a statement. “But I have extraordinary confidence that the leaders of our party will be able to create a process from which an outstanding nominee emerges.”

Harris’ time as vice president has been occasionally rocky, defined in part by large staff turnover, retreating from politically risky responsibilities, and mocking from some Beltway insiders.

Much of Harris’ staff has turned over in the past 3½ years.

About half of the vice president’s staff is paid by the Senate, which requires regular disclosures. Of the 47 Harris staffers listed in 2021, only five still worked for her as of this spring, according to the disclosures. Her full staff list is not publicly disclosed.

During Obama’s first term, then-Vice President Biden had far more staff stability, as 17 of 38 of his aides stayed with him over a similar period, according to the disclosures for staff paid by the Senate.

Former Harris aides told Axios the high turnover is partly because of how the vice president treats her staff.

Some former aides said Harris had high standards that some did not want to keep up with, but others felt that she frequently grilled them the way she grilled Trump officials, such as then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, when she represented California in the U.S. Senate.

Former aides often refer to it as Harris’ “prosecuting the staff.”

During the 2020 campaign, Biden aides recall watching Harris interrogate her then-chief of staff Karine Jean-Pierre to the point that it made others uncomfortable.

After the election, Jean-Pierre moved to the White House’s press team.

A person familiar with the matter said Biden told Jean-Pierre that she was only “on loan” during the campaign and that her move to the White House was always part of the plan.

The relationship between the vice president’s office and the West Wing has often been tense.

White House aides sometimes felt Harris wasn’t a team player and stayed away from any task with risk.

But some Harris aides felt that the White House, particularly top aide Anita Dunn, wasn’t helpful to the vice president.

At times, Harris aides suspected Biden’s team didn’t want to give Harris opportunities to shine to avoid her being seen as a viable alternative to Biden ahead of his re-election bid.

Even so, Dunn worked to elevate Harris during Biden’s campaign, particularly with Harris’ work in pushing to defend abortion rights.

In response to questions for this article, Harris’ chief of staff Lorraine Voles said in a statement: “Anita is a supportive colleague who works closely every day with the Office of the Vice President.”

The tensions between the Biden and Harris staffs could get personal, however.

Some Harris senior aides told others they resented how Biden’s team got frustrated with the optics of Meena Harris, the vice president’s niece, publishing a children’s book just before Biden’s inauguration — but then celebrated when Hunter Biden published his book months later.

Voles added that Biden and Harris’ many achievements in the president’s term were “possible in part due to the hard work of the White House staff who view themselves as one team.”

But some Democrats found the Biden team’s quiet trashing of Harris ironic, given that they had complained for the past decade about how Obama aides had done the same thing to Biden when he was vice president.

Some of the tensions between the Biden and Harris teams are because the principals are very different people, aides to both told Axios.

Biden is a white Irish Catholic man who learned politics by trying to shake every hand in the small state of Delaware.

Harris, 22 years younger, is a multiracial woman who worked her way up in the much larger state of California, where political races often are won by how much money you can raise.

There are personality differences as well: Harris is much more attuned to the pop culture of movies and music, while Biden rarely engages with pop culture in that way.

Harris has been cautious and reluctant to participate in events that weren’t tightly controlled, Harris and Biden aides said.

In 2022, the White House internally pushed Harris to be the headliner for D.C.’s traditional Gridiron Dinner, but she resisted. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo did it instead.

Harris has faced race-baiting from some conservatives, and at times has focused on critical coverage of her in ways aides have found unhelpful — like when she has watched Fox News’ “The Five.”

In April 2022, Harris was the guest for a dinner at D.C. news mogul David Bradley’s home — a salon-style event Bradley hosts with Washington journalists and newsmakers.

Harris’ anxiety about the dinner was such that her staff held a mock dinner beforehand, with staffers playing participants, according to two people familiar with the event.

Harris aides even considered including wine in the mock prep so Harris could practice with a glass or two.

They ultimately decided against it.

In endorsing Harris, Biden said that “my very first decision as the party nominee in 2020 was to pick Kamala Harris as my vice president. And it’s been the best decision I’ve made.”

White House communications director Ben LaBolt added that Harris “has been incredibly loyal and dedicated.”

Rachel Palermo, Harris’ former deputy communications director, told Axios that Harris “has high standards because she is well prepared” and that “she is an incredible legal mind.”

Carmel Martin, Harris’ former domestic policy adviser, added: “I never felt grilled by the vice president. I think she holds high standards for her staff but she is also a great boss and mentor.”

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How Kamala Harris Performs Against Trump in the Polls

Before President Biden announced he would discontinue his re-election campaign and endorsed Vice President Harris, recent polls that had been conducted after his disastrous debate performance showed little difference between how he matched up against former President Trump compared to how Harris would.

The New York Times assessed that Harris falls about two percentage points behind Trump in recent polls. The 46% to 48% difference is slightly better for Harris compared to how Biden polled on average – three percentage points behind the Republican presidential nominee, 47% to 44%.

A New York Times/Siena College poll conducted in the battleground state of Pennsylvania from July 9-11, before Biden dropped out and before the assassination attempt on Trump at a rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, showed Harris was only behind by one percentage point in a hypothetical matchup against Trump.

In Virginia, Harris had a five percentage point lead, compared to Biden only polling ahead of Trump in the same state by a razor-thin margin, according to the Times. Harris polled slightly better than Biden in both states among Black voters, younger voters and women.

According to a Washington Post-ABC News-Ipsos poll conducted July 5-9, 70% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents indicated that they would be “satisfied” if Biden withdrew from the race and Harris was nominated to run as the 2024 Democratic presidential candidate.

In an open-ended question, that poll showed 29% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents named Harris as their pick for the Democratic nomination if Biden bowed out.

Seven percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents referenced California Gov. Gavin Newsom, while 4% said they wanted former first lady Michelle Obama as Biden’s replacement. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer each had 3% of support, though half of Democrats did not specify an alternative candidate.

As pressure mounted from Democrat lawmakers and donors for Biden to step aside, a poll from the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research released last week found that about six in 10 Democrats believe that Harris would do a good job as president herself.

About two in 10 Democrats do not believe she would, and another two in 10 say they do not know enough to say.

Results of a CNN poll conducted by SSRS and released on July 2 indicated that three-quarters of voters say the Democratic Party would have a better chance of keeping the White House with someone else other than Biden at the top of the party’s ticket.

In a hypothetical match-up, 47% of registered voters supported Trump compared to 45% for Harris, a difference that fell within the survey’s margin of error.

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George Soros’s Son Alex Fully Backs Kamala Harris After Biden Drops Out

George Soros’s son and the heir to his liberal empire, Alex Soros, quickly threw his support behind Kamala Harris to be the next president of the United States after President Biden dropped out of the race.

“It’s time for us all to unite around Kamala Harris and beat Donald Trump,” Alex Soros said in a social media post.

“She is the best and most qualified candidate we have. Long live the American Dream.”

The endorsement comes after President Biden said Sunday he was dropping out of the presidential race and endorsed his running-mate to take his place.

Alex Soros, 38, has immense sway in Democratic circles considering his billionaire father is a prolific donor for Democratic and other lefty causes.

The elder Soros has built up the philanthropic organizations, Open Society Foundations, since the 1970s.

Alex Soros previously backed Biden amid calls for the 81-year-old commander in chief to leave the race.

He commended Biden on Sunday following the president’s departure from the 2024 presidential election — which would hae been a rematch against former President Donald Trump.

“Joe Biden is a patriot, a man who has always worked to unite America and stand for the dignity and well being of all Americans,” Alex Soros wrote.

“He has done more in four years than most could dream to accomplish in eight. He will be remembered as an American hero because he is.”

Soros quietly got engaged to Huma Abedin — former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s ex — earlier this year, Page Sixfirst reported this month.

Abedin is a longtime confidante of 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

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Manchin Confirms He Won’t Be Running for President

Sen. Joe Manchin on Monday denied that he would be challenging Vice President Kamala Harris for the Democratic presidential ticket, saying, “I don’t need that in my life.”

The longtime West Virginia leader, who switched from Democrat to independent this year, squashed rumors that he would be going up against Harris in November’s election during an interview on CBS Monday morning.

“I’m not running for office,” Manchin said.

“I’m not going to be a candidate for president … I don’t need that in my life,” he said before calling for a contested primary.

The 76-year-old called for Biden to drop out of the race Sunday morning hours before Biden, 81, announced his withdrawal.

The once-moderate Democrat noted he was “speaking for the middle of this country” as an independent, and that neither Republicans nor Democrats can win without the middle.

“Joe Biden came out of a very contested primary in 2020 and he rose because he was that moderate figure. He always operated in the middle. He could make a deal with people on the right and the left,” Manchin said.

Manchin argued that not holding a primary would be a mistake, but it was already “predetermined.”

“I believe it would help strengthen Kamala and her position too,” he added. “But that’s already been predetermined, so we’ll see what happens. I think it’s a mistake, but it’s one that they have made.”

While saying for a second time that he would not be running for president, Manchin noted he “could not believe” there wouldn’t be a primary election.

“Other countries do it,” he said before criticizing others for not speaking up about the lack of a primary.

“Why is everyone afraid to speak out? Why are they afraid to say ‘This system is wrong’? The Democratic Party has gone too far left. The Republican Party has Donald Trump on the far right. People are looking in the middle, where do you go?”

Manchin continued to vent his frustrations, saying, “Well, we’d like to see that. We’re not going to be able to see a vigorous, not even a three-week primary process.

“No one else is willing to speak up. They just say, ‘We’re falling behind, we’re going to get in line.’ I’m sorry, I don’t agree with that.”

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Hunter Biden Drops Lawsuit Against Fox News

Hunter Biden has dropped a lawsuit accusing Fox News of illegally publishing explicit images of him as part of a streaming series.

An attorney for the president’s son filed a voluntary dismissal notice on Sunday in federal court in New York City, three weeks after the lawsuit was filed.

It wasn’t clear why the lawsuit was dropped, and Biden’s attorney didn’t immediately respond to a Monday email seeking comment.

The lawsuit involved images shown in “The Trial of Hunter Biden,” which debuted on the streaming service Fox Nation in 2022.

The series features a “mock trial” of Hunter Biden on charges that he hasn’t faced and includes images of him in the nude and engaged in sex acts, according to the lawsuit.

The complaint claimed that the dissemination of intimate images without his consent violated New York’s so-called revenge porn law.

Fox News described the lawsuit as “entirely politically motivated” and “devoid of merit” when it was filed.

A Fox News spokesperson referred to that statement when asked for additional comment Monday.

The dismissal notice was filed the same day that President Joe Biden dropped out of the 2024 race for the White House, upending the contest less than four months before the election.

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BIDEN DROPS OUT, ENDORSES HARRIS

President Joe Biden announced Sunday that he will end his presidential re-election campaign, bringing an abrupt and humbling conclusion to his half-century-long political career and scrambling the race for the White House just four months before Election Day.

Biden, 81, could not reverse growing sentiment within his party that he was too frail to serve and destined to lose to Donald Trump in November. He backed Vice President Kamala Harris to replace him as the Democratic nominee.

“While it has been my intention to seek reelection, I believe it is in the best interest of my party and the country for me to stand down and to focus solely on fulfilling my duties as President for the remainder of my term,” Biden wrote in a letter posted on X. “I will speak to the Nation later this week in more detail about my decision.”

Biden thanked Harris for “being an extraordinary partner” in his letter and then endorsed her in a subsequent post.

“My very first decision as the party nominee in 2020 was to pick Kamala Harris as my Vice President,” Biden posted. “And it’s been the best decision I’ve made. Today I want to offer my full support and endorsement for Kamala to be the nominee of our party this year.”

Biden and Harris spoke today ahead of the president’s announcement, according to a source familiar with the campaign.

His withdrawal caps a singular national political career, bookended by Richard Nixon’s fall and Trump’s rise. He mounted four presidential bids. He spent 36 years in the U.S. Senate representing tiny Delaware. He rose to the chairmanships of the powerful Judiciary and Foreign Relations committees. And he served eight years as Barack Obama’s vice president.

Reactions from politicians quickly began pouring in.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom wrote in a post on X that Biden “has been an extraordinary, history-making president — a leader who has fought hard for working people and delivered astonishing results for all Americans.”

“He will go down in history as one of the most impactful and selfless presidents,” said Newsom, who was one of the most prominent Biden surrogates. Newsom has also been floated as a possible Democratic presidential contender.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, another prominent Democrat talked about as a future national candidate, called Biden a “great public servant” in a post to X.

“My job in this election will remain the same: doing everything I can to elect Democrats and stop Donald Trump, a convicted felon whose agenda of raising families’ costs, banning abortion nationwide, and abusing the power of the White House to settle his own scores is completely wrong for Michigan,” Whitmer wrote.

The president’s granddaughter Naomi Biden said in a post that she was “nothing but proud today of my Pop,” adding that he has “served our country with every bit of his soul and with unmatched distinction.” First lady Jill Biden posted her husband’s statement to X with a heart emoji.

Across the aisle, Republicans slammed the move and many called on him to resign his office, days after the completion of a Republican National Convention where speaker after speaker slammed the Biden-Harris ticket.

“If Joe Biden is not fit to run for president, he is not fit to serve as President. He must resign the office immediately,” said House Speaker Mike Johnson.

In a brief phone interview with NBC News, Trump reacted to Biden’s decision, calling the president “the worst president in the history of the United States by far.”

When asked whether he was surprised by Biden’s decision, Trump said that Biden “should never have been there in the first place.”

“He should have stayed in his basement,” Trump said.

In a fundraising email, Trump’s campaign said that Biden “quit the race in complete disgrace.”

An unprecedented decision

Biden’s decision to exit the race less than a month before his party’s convention and a few months before voters head to the polls is unprecedented in the modern political era. The last sitting president to abandon a re-election bid was Lyndon Johnson, whose expansion of the Vietnam War in the 1960s split the Democratic Party. But Johnson’s announcement came in March 1968 — eight months before that election.

“We’re in uncharted waters,” said Barbara Perry, a presidential studies professor at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center. “No president has dropped out or died this close to the convention.”

Replacing Biden atop the Democratic ticket is likely to set off internal Democratic tremors as ambitious officials maneuver to become his successor. Factions have already formed around Harris, Whitmer and Newsom.

Harris would seem to be the heir apparent. She broke a barrier as the first female vice president. A woman of color, she enjoys strong support among African Americans, a loyal piece of the Democratic coalition. Overall, though, Harris’ approval rating stood at only 32% in an NBC News poll released earlier this month.

“There’s no one you can name right now who is an obvious substitute,” Perry said. “That’s what makes this so uncertain and chaotic.”

Unlike Republican delegates, who are bound to their candidate, Democratic delegates aren’t, so they are free to do what they want at the convention. Biden could have some influence over the delegates, but they could vote for a different candidate than his chosen pick, pending any rules changes at the convention meant to address this unprecedented situation. The rules currently say that the delegates simply have to “in all good conscience reflect the sentiments of those who elected them.”

The mechanics of putting a new name on ballots also gives rise to myriad legal questions. Republicans could work to throw obstacles in the nominee’s path by mounting legal challenges aimed at keeping that person off the ballot.

Questions about Biden’s capacities dogged him throughout his presidency, but peaked following his debate with Trump on June 27. Combined with his flagging poll numbers, his listless performance sparked a panic among his own party that he couldn’t win in November.

With 51 million people watching, Biden spoke in a raspy voice and often failed to complete thoughts or deliver a cogent explanation of why voters should choose him over Trump. He later attributed his poor performance to exhaustion and a cold. He implored the country not to let one bad night overshadow his accomplishments in office.

Unpersuaded, Democratic lawmakers began calling on him to step aside, a rebellion that started slowly but grew steadily in size and intensity. Thirty-seven congressional Democrats, including independent Sen. Joe Manchin, who previously was in the Democratic Party, had called on Biden to drop out of the 2024 election before he delivered his decision Sunday afternoon.

They appealed to Biden’s patriotism, arguing that if he sincerely believed Trump is a threat to democracy, he needed to put his country first and stand down.

Biden fought back. He held numerous calls and meetings with Democratic officials at all levels to shore up support inside the party — to no avail.

Looking to blunt concerns about his acuity, he gave interviews and held press conferences to prove to voters that he could still think on his feet. But the gaffes kept coming and his poll numbers remained stagnant.

In another bit of bad fortune and timing, Biden tested positive for Covid-19 on July 17, forcing him off the campaign trail.

For Democrats, Biden’s illness created an unwanted contrast. While Trump delivered a triumphal speech accepting the Republican nomination in Milwaukee on July 18, five days after surviving an assassination attempt, Biden was in self-isolation back home.

Biden’s departure is the latest in a series of jarring developments that has made the 2024 presidential race the most chaotic in living memory. Trump easily won the Republican presidential nomination despite splitting his time between the campaign trail and various courtrooms where he was a defendant in criminal and civil cases. In May, a jury in Manhattan convicted him on 34 felony counts related to hush money payments to a porn star.

Then, in short order, Trump rebounded. The Supreme Court issued a much-anticipated ruling on July 1 that immunized Trump from official conduct when he was president, impeding special counsel Jack Smith’s efforts to prosecute Trump for interfering in the 2020 election.

Trump nearly died on July 13 as he appeared at a rally in Butler, Pennsylvania. A gunman lying on a roof 130 yards away fired a bullet that grazed his ear. Trump dropped to the ground in self-defense. Then, his face smeared with blood, he rose and defiantly pumped his fist, yelling “Fight!”

Another fortuitous development came two days later, coinciding with the opening of the Republican convention in Milwaukee that certified Trump’s nomination. Federal Judge Aileen Cannon in Florida dismissed a separate case brought by Smith alleging that Trump improperly retained classified documents that he took home with him when he left the White House in 2021. Cannon, who had been appointed by Trump, ruled that Smith’s appointment was illegal. Smith quickly appealed her ruling.

The rolling streak of news gave Trump a jolt of momentum, allowing Republicans to present an energized and unified front at this month’s convention.

Biden seldom sparked any such enthusiasm. HIs primary campaign was mostly a coronation. He faced token opposition as party leaders cleared the field, betting that having beaten Trump once before, Biden was best positioned to do it again. But poll after poll confirmed that voters harbored doubts about him, believing he was too old and infirm to serve another term.

An AP-NORC survey released July 17 found that a whopping 65% of Democrats believed Biden should exit the race.

Pressed by his voters, abandoned by party leaders, Biden gave in.

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Who Could Be Kamala Harris’ Vice President? 5 Candidates

As speculation about President Joe Biden’s 2024 candidacy swirls, some believe Vice President Kamala Harris would become the Democratic nominee. But who could take her place? An expert told Newsweek his thoughts on the candidates.

Biden has faced growing pressure in the aftermath of last month’s debate to step aside and let another Democrat take his place. Top Democrats, like kingmaker and Representative Jim Clyburn, have already signaled that they’d back Harris if Biden leaves the race and polls show that most Democratic voters support Harris at the top of the ticket.

An Economist/YouGov survey conducted this week found that 79 percent would support Harris as the Democratic nominee if Biden were to withdraw from the race. Harris would also benefit from the $91 million war chest that the Biden-Harris campaign has raised.

While she may be the obvious choice to replace Biden, Harris would have to pick her own running mate if she were to become the nominee.

“Truthfully, they all have something to offer,” Audrey Haynes, a politics professor at the University of Georgia, told Newsweek of the contenders. “The Democratic Party has a strong bench and the choice will depend on who is at the top of the ticket. Who will balance the ticket, provide some electoral benefit (perhaps move a swing state) or perhaps expand a voter bloc that may have voters to expand vote margins in close races.”

“At this juncture, a governor, who is popular, and has a strong economic record in their state, would be the most valuable foil for competing with the Trump Vance ticket,” Haynes said. “Neither of whom have the type of executive experience that governors earn over time.”

“A running mate can help a little or hurt a lot,” John Pitney, a politics professor at Claremont McKenna College, told Newsweek. “The key is to pick someone who passes the gravitas test, unlike Dan Quayle and Sarah Palin, and who does not have any background issues, unlike Thomas Eagleton and Geraldine Ferraro. The governors all seem to pass the test, but [opposition research] guys may find out something different.”

Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro

A rising Democratic star, Josh Shapiro is often floated as a possible running mate for Harris. He governs a major battleground state and could help Harris make inroads among voters in the Keystone State.

Shapiro, who comfortably beat Trump-backed Doug Mastriano in 2022, is wildly popular in his home state and enjoys support from both Democrats and Republicans. The only governor with a divided Legislature, Shapiro was able to reach a bipartisan agreement just last week. He’s also been applauded for his handling of major infrastructure crises, including the collapse of the I-95 bridge last year and the train derailment in Ohio, which borders Pennsylvania.

Of all the potential VP contenders, Shapiro might be among the sharpest of the group because his presence could help Democrats secure Pennsylvania, Jeffrey Kraus, a politics professor at Wagner College, told Newsweek.

“Shapiro has never lost an election and is closer to the center of the Democratic Party,” Kraus said.

Michael Gordon, a Democratic strategist and principal at Group Gordon, also said Shapiro would have “the biggest impact on the outcome” of the 2024 election.

“He’s a popular governor of a swing state with a lot of electoral votes. He’s also a young rising star who could inspire voters in other swing states,” Gordon told Newsweek.

But with only two years under his belt, experts think that Shapiro would be wise to continue working for voters in Pennsylvania, especially if he has plans to run for the commander-in-chief position himself later down the line.

“It is hard for me to imagine that Josh Shapiro would want to be anyone’s running mate,” Berwood Yost, Director of the Floyd Institute for Public Policy and Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College, told PoliticsPA.com. “He would undoubtedly be a great choice given that he is a popular governor in one of the key states Democrats must carry in 2024, but what benefit would there be for him to take the position?”

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper

Roy Cooper’s governorship has been a sign of hope for Democrats in the Tar Heel state.

While the party hasn’t won a presidential election in the state since 2008, Cooper was elected in 2016 and 2020 despite former President Donald Trump’s Electoral College victories in both elections. Cooper won in 2016 mostly in opposition to a bill banning transgender people from public restrooms of their gender. In 2020, he was reelected for his handling of the pandemic and natural disasters in the state.

Kraus said Cooper might help attract North Carolina voters to the ticket, but because the governor doesn’t have a national profile, he said, “I don’t know what else he might bring to the ticket besides putting North Carolina in play.”

“Roy Cooper can fit the bill too as a popular governor of a swing state,” Gordon said. “He is a safe choice but may not be as inspiring nationally as Shapiro.”

“Shapiro and Cooper might help only a little, but in their closely contested swing states, a little could mean a lot,” Pitney said.

Cooper is also close to Harris, having served as the attorney general in North Carolina at the same time Harris held the position in California. He’s commended her for being able to relate to women voters and appeared alongside her at events in his home state, calling her a “fighter.”

Harris herself has said of Cooper, “I’ve known him for almost two decades, and he is an extraordinary leader.”

Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that Cooper was “an emerging favorite” for Harris.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Gretchen Whitmer’s name has long been floated as a possible presidential candidate, and a Harris-Whitmer ticket would mark the first all-women ticket in history, which Pitney described as “intriguing.”

“Whether the Democrats would run a ticket with two female candidates is an open question,” Kraus said.

Whitmer’s position in Michigan could help the Democratic Party win back voters who abandoned the party in response to Biden’s response to the Israel-Hamas war.

The state, which is home to more than 200,000 registered voters who are Muslim and 300,000 people who claim ancestry from the Middle East and North Africa, has spelled trouble for Biden in recent months. Despite winning Michigan by 154,000 votes in 2020, Biden is now trailing behind Trump by 1.6 percentage points, according to RealClearPolling averages.

Michigan also has a decadeslong streak of voting for the winning presidential candidate. The state has not voted for a losing candidate since 2004.

Whitmer, who easily won reelection in 2022 and brought a Democratic trifecta with her, has expressed her support for Harris. On Tuesday, she said that she would be “eager” to support Harris as the nominee if Biden were to exit the race.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear

Andy Beshear impressed many Democrats when he won a second term in the conservative state last year.

“Andy Beshear is a rising star, but Harris won’t win Kentucky, even with him on the ticket,” Gordon said.

Pitney agreed, saying, “Beshear might be a good ambassador to the rim South, but there is little chance of a Democratic ticket carrying Kentucky.”

While Kentucky is not seen as a likely pickup in November and Beshear’s departure to the White House would leave the state without any Democrats, he’s one of the most popular and youngest governors in the country.

A Morning Consult poll conducted last year found that Beshear is tied with Hawaii Governor Josh Green as the most popular Democratic governor among Trump voters. He is also the most popular Democratic governor among Biden voters. The survey showed that Beshear has the highest net approval rating of any Democratic governor in a red state, with overall approval at 60 percent.

Beshear told reporters last week that he had concerns about Biden’s candidacy but that he wasn’t calling for the president to step aside.

At the press conference, he signaled that he would be open to leaving his role for one that helps “the Commonwealth even more” but said that he wasn’t planning to and that his current role is “more than enough for me.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom

Newsom has become one of the most nationally recognizable figures within the Democratic Party.

He drew speculations about his White House ambitions last year when he debated Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, prompting some to ask what Newsom was doing facing off against a Republican presidential candidate when he wasn’t in the 2024 race.

Billed as a red state versus blue state debate, the two governors clashed over taxes, immigration, crime, guns, abortion and the pandemic in a 90-minute event moderated by Fox News. Newsom repeatedly defended Biden as DeSantis argued that the president’s mental state was in decline.

“We have one thing in common, neither of us will be the nominee for our party in 2024,” Newsom said during the debate.

But Newsom as VP could cause problems for Harris since both of them are from California, similar to how observers questioned if Trump picking Senator Marco Rubio could present the same constitutional question since both Republicans were from Florida.

“The reality is that none of these governors really would make a difference to a Harris-led ticket,” Kraus said. “For that matter, Harris might not be the best candidate to lead the ticket, although it seems that will be the only scenario if Biden (and this is not a sure thing) withdraws.”

“At best, the Democrats should focus on retaining the Senate and trying to retake the House. Unless something else happens, Trump seems likely to prevail,” he said.

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What Happens Next Now That Biden Has Dropped Out?

President Joe Biden won’t be seeking a second term after all.

After weeks of debating among many Democrats following a poor debate performance in late June, Biden announced Sunday afternoon on social media that he was stepping aside from the race.

It was a stunning reversal from Biden, who despite calls from many in his party, remained defiant that he would remain in the race after collecting more than enough delegates during state primary elections to be officially chosen as the Democratic nominee.

While the news is good in the eyes of some Democrats who were trying to convince Biden to drop out out for fears he couldn’t beat Republican nominee and former President Donald Trump, the big question moving forward is, what’s next?

Here is what the Democrats will need to sort out as their convention from Aug. 19-22 in Chicago approaches.

Where does the money go?

According to recent filings, the Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris reelection campaign had amassed $91 million in donations.

Following his decision, Biden publicly endorsed Harris to be the new nominee.

The campaign has the account registered with the Federal Election Commission in the name of both candidates, so Harris could use those funds if she is chosen as Biden’s replacement, according to experts cited in an AP article.

If Harris decides she doesn’t want to run, only $2,000 could be transferred from those funds to a new candidate.

In a Reuters article, experts disagreed whether the funds would remain intact for a new candidate as long as Harris was still the nominee for Vice President. Regardless, a legal fight would likely ensue if that scenario was attempted.

The Democrats could try and shift funds between various Political Action Committees, but there are limits as to how much and there’s likely little else that can be done with the original campaign fund unless Harris is the nominee.

Can another candidate besides Vice President Kamala Harris be chosen?

Yes, but the process would be complicated and potentially messy. And lots of money would have to be raised in a short amount of time.

If the Democrats open it up to a nomination process, there likely would be a brokered convention.

A brokered convention is when a party’s nominee isn’t selected by a majority in the first round of delegate voting at the party’s nominating convention, according to Ballotpedia.

At that point, delegates are then allowed to vote for another preferred candidate, which paves the way for input from party leadership and maneuvering.

By convention rules, delegates are bound or pledged to candidates that won state primary elections, according to history.com, so Biden would’ve been the choice at the convention had he stayed in the race.

But with Biden now out, it opens everything up.

According to a Reuters article, new candidates would have to get 600 convention delegates to be nominated.

It could lead to candidates lobbying individual state delegations at the convention for support, according to the AP.

The last brokered convention o take place was at the 1952 Democratic National Convention, according to history.com.

During that convention, Tennessee Sen. Estes Kefauver was the frontrunner after winning primaries in 12 states. But some Democrats weren’t happy with his televised hearings about organized crime, and ended up backing Illinois Gov. Adlai Stevenson, a write-in candidate who won the nomination after three rounds of voting.

Stevenson ended up losing badly to Dwight D. Eisenhower in the general election.

What is most important strategy for Democrats now?

In short, it’s unity. Maybe even unprecedented unity. One option would be to get behind Harris and hope her pull with African-American and women voters would be a major threat to Trump.

But if Democrats aren’t on board with Harris and are willing to bypass all the money that’s in the Biden-Harris campaign fund, then they’ll need to get to work in a hurry.

The sooner a new replacement is zeroed on, the better. Donors can (and would have to) pour in millions toward getting behind a new candidate in a quick amount of time, but it would be a lot of easier if that money can go to one candidate instead of several who are lobbying for the nomination.

Regardless of what happens, an unprecedented time in American politics is about to get even more so with what the Democrats will decide on.

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Trump Reacts to Biden Dropping Out, Asks Who’s Running the Country?

Former President Trump said President Biden “was not fit to run for president” and is not — and “never was” fit to serve.

The Republican presidential nominee was reacting to Biden’s stunning announcement Sunday afternoon that he is suspending his re-election campaign.

“He is the worst president in the history of our country,” Trump told Fox News Digital in a phone interview Sunday afternoon. “There has never been a president so bad.”

“He is not fit to serve,” Trump continued. “And I ask — who is going to be running the country for the next five months?”

The former president also reportedly told CNN on Sunday that he believes Vice President Kamala Harris would be easier to defeat in November’s election.

Trump also posted on his Truth Social Sunday afternoon, writing, “Crooked Joe Biden was not fit to run for President, and is certainly not fit to serve — And never was! He only attained the position of President by lies, Fake News, and not leaving his Basement.”

Trump said that “all those around him, including his Doctor and the Media, knew that he wasn’t capable of being President, and he wasn’t.”

“Now, look what he’s done to our Country, with millions of people coming across our Border, totally unchecked and unvetted, many from prisons, mental institutions, and record numbers of terrorists,” he wrote. “We will suffer greatly because of his presidency, but we will remedy the damage he has done very quickly.”

He added: “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

Trump’s comments come one week after he survived an assassination attempt and just days after formally becoming the 2024 Republican presidential nominee.

Biden announced Sunday that he will suspend his 2024 re-election campaign amid mounting pressure from his Democratic colleagues on Capitol Hill, top donors and Hollywood stars after a disastrous debate performance last month.

The unprecedented announcement came as an increasing number of Democrat lawmakers had begun to publicly call for Biden to step aside and the party’s leadership reportedly was engaged in efforts to convince Biden, 81, he could not win in November’s general election against Trump, the 2024 GOP nominee who Biden defeated four years ago to win the White House.

“It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve as your president,” Biden wrote in a public letter. “While it has been my intention to seek reelection, I believe it is in the best interests of my party and the country for me to stand down and focus solely on fulfilling my duties as president for the remainder of my term.”

Biden said he will formally address the nation later this week about his decision.

“For now, let me express my deepest gratitude to all those who have worked so hard to see me reelected,” Biden wrote. “I want to thank Vice President Kamala Harris for being an extraordinary partner in all this work. And let me express my heartfelt appreciation to the American people for the faith and trust you have placed in me.”

Biden added: “I believe today what I always have: that there is nothing America can’t do — when we do it together. We just have to remember we are the United States of America.”

Biden was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Wednesday, a revelation that came on the heels of several TV interviews and campaign appearances in which the president insisted he was remaining in the race. But the interviews failed to reassure supporters and provided critics — including those on the left — with further evidence that Biden was no longer up to the job.

Biden delivered a strong welcome address to world leaders at last week’s NATO summit in Washington, D.C. The showcase served as an opportunity to prove he was fit to continue his current term and eager and able to lead the nation for another four years.

For a time, it seemed Biden could survive the surge of calls for him to quit the race after House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., announced that they backed Biden’s bid.

But Biden, who has long been known for a propensity to commit gaffes, continued to stumble. His missteps included a glaring error on the world stage at the NATO summit. While speaking on live television, Biden referred to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as “Putin,” name-checking Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose invasion of Zelenskyy’s Ukraine has precipitated more than two years of hellish war.

Questions over whether Biden would end his campaign remained the top political story heading into last weekend.

But two blockbuster developments in rapid succession — the attempted assassination of Trump at the former president’s rally in western Pennsylvania on Saturday and Trump’s naming Monday at the Republican National Convention of Sen. JD Vance of Ohio as his running mate — briefly halted the fervor over Biden for a couple of days.

But the call on Wednesday by Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic Senate nominee in California, for Biden to end his campaign, as well as reporting that top Democrats such as Schumer, Jeffries and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had frank conversations with Biden, quickly reignited the political crisis for the president.

Biden’s stunning announcement occurred during the roughest stretch of what was a more than year-long campaign for a second term. Doubts about his viability at the top of the Democratic Party’s 2024 ticket began seeping out into the mainstream after his halting delivery and awkward answers were placed on full display for a national audience during June’s presidential debate with Trump in Atlanta.

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Hollywood, Media and Politicians React to Biden Dropping Out

Joe Biden has made his decision, and will not seek a second term. The announcement on a sleepy July Sunday morning rocked social media.

After a Saturday that saw both Donald Trump and his running mate Sen J.D. Vance (R-OH) campaigning, as was Vice President Kamala Harris, the one-page correspondence from Biden, who has been at his Delaware home recovering from Covid, also noted that POTUS intends to “speak to the nation later this week.

Biden’s decision and announcement came after weeks of revolt among party donors, supporters and congressional members that the president’s electoral chances and already shaky polls were dimming following a disastrous debate performance that raised new concerns about his age.

Some of the early reactions:

 

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Clintons Endorse Kamala Harris After Biden Drops Out

Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton endorsed Vice President Kamala Harris on Sunday after President Biden’s stunning withdrawal from the race.

One of the most powerful families in Democratic politics swiftly joined Biden in endorsing Harris, a key indicator the party will rally around the vice president as the best option to defeat Donald Trump.

In 2016, Hillary Clinton became the first woman to win a major party’s nomination. Now, she’s aiming to help Harris become the first woman president in U.S. history.

Former President and Michelle Obama have yet to release a statement but will likely line up behind Harris too, as Axios reported before Biden’s withdrawal.

Full Clinton statement, via X:

“President Biden has capped his extraordinary career of service with a Presidency that has lifted America out of an unprecedented pandemic, created millions of new jobs, rebuilt a battered economy, strengthened our democracy, and restored our standing in the world. By any measure, he has advanced our founders’ charge to build a more perfect union and his own stated goal of restoring the soul of our nation.

We join millions of Americans in thanking President Biden for all he has accomplished, standing up for America time and again, with his North Star always being what’s best for the country.

We are honored to join the President in endorsing Vice President Harris and will do whatever we can to support her.

We’ve lived through many ups and downs, but nothing has made us more worried for our country than the threat posed by a second Trump term. He has promised to be a dictator on day one, and the recent ruling by his servile Supreme Court will only embolden him to further shred the Constitution. Now is the time to support Kamala Harris and fight with everything we’ve got to elect her. America’s future depends on it.”

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Pelosi Thanks Biden for His Service

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi thanked President Joe Biden for his decades of public service and called him “one of the most consequential Presidents in American history” in a statement Sunday.

Pelosi had served as a sounding board for those anxious about the president’s viability and warned the president privately that he was dragging down other Democrats.

Following Biden’s decision to stand aside, she wrote: “God blessed America with Joe Biden’s greatness and goodness.”

The former speaker did not endorse Vice President Kamala Harris in her statement and has previously voiced support for an open nomination process.

Biden himself backed his vice president shortly after announcing his decision Sunday.

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House Republicans Demand Biden Resign ‘Immediately’

House Republicans are calling on President Biden to resign from office after he announced that he would no longer seek reelection, arguing that he should not continue to serve in the White House if he is unable to run for another term.

The comments — several of which were from House GOP leadership — came shortly after Biden said he was withdrawing from the 2024 presidential race, a seismic announcement that rocked the political world and left the path forward for Democrats uncertain.

“If Joe Biden is not fit to run for President, he is not fit to serve as President. He must resign the office immediately,” Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) wrote on the social platform X. “November 5 cannot arrive soon enough.”

“If the Democrat party has deemed Joe Biden unfit to run for re-election, he’s certainly unfit to control our nuclear codes. Biden must step down from office immediately,” House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (Minn.), the No. 3 Republican in the chamber, wrote on X.

Rep. Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), the chair of the House GOP conference, echoed that sentiment, arguing that he is “unable and unfit” to complete his term.

“If Joe Biden can’t run for re-election, he is unable and unfit to serve as President of the United States,” Stefanik said in a statement. “He must immediately resign.”

Biden announced he was stepping aside from the Democratic presidential ticket in a letter to the country Sunday afternoon, reversing his decision regarding the 2024 election amid mounting pressure from Democrats calling on him to withdraw from the race. Several Democrats had urged him to drop out of the race after last month’s disastrous debate performance, where he at times stumbled over his words and appeared to lose his train of thought.

He endorsed Vice President Harris for president.

“It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve as your president. And while it has been my intention to seek reelection, I believe it is in the best interest of my party and the country for me to stand down and to focus solely on fulfilling my duties as President for the remainder of my term,” Biden wrote.

But while he said he plans to serve out the remainder of his term, which officially ends in the middle of January, pressure is already mounting on the president to step aside in the interim.

Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, echoed that sentiment, challenging Democrats to consider if Biden can continue to serve the remainder of his term.

“If the president is mentally unfit to campaign, he is mentally unfit to have the nuclear codes,” Hudson wrote in a statement. “Every House Democrat must now answer: is the president fit to serve the rest of his term?”

If Biden refuses to resign early, Republicans could turn to a resolution introduced by Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) late last month that urges Harris to convene the Cabinet and declare Biden unable to carry out the duties of the Oval Office. Harris, however, would be unlikely to do so.

Some senators also called on Biden to resign in the wake of his reelection news.

“If Joe Biden is no longer capable of running for re-election, he is no longer capable of serving as President,” Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, wrote in a statement. “Being President is the hardest job in the world, and I no longer have confidence that Joe Biden can effectively execute his duties as Commander-in-Chief.”

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WashPost: Secret Service Lied, Agency Now Admits It Withheld Resources from Trump Campaign

Top officials at the U.S. Secret Service repeatedly denied requests for additional resources and personnel sought by Donald Trump’s security detail in the two years leading up to his attempted assassination at a rally in Pennsylvania last Saturday, according to four people familiar with the requests.

Agents charged with protecting the former president requested magnetometers and more agents to screen attendees at sporting events and other large public gatherings Trump attended, as well as additional snipers and specialty teams at other outdoor events, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive security discussions. The requests, which have not been previously reported, were sometimes denied by senior officials at the agency, who cited various reasons, including a lack of resources at an agency that has long struggled with staffing shortages, they said.

Those rejections — in response to requests that were several times made in writing — led to long-standing tensions that pitted Trump, his top aides and his security detail against Secret Service leadership, as Trump advisers privately fretted that the vaunted security agency was not doing enough to protect the former president.

The Secret Service, after initially denying turning down requests for additional security, is now acknowledging some may have been rejected. The revelation comes as agency veterans say the organization has been forced to make difficult decisions amid competing demands, a growing list of protectees and limited funding.

A gunman was able to fire off rounds from an AR-15-style rifle from a rooftop about 150 yards from the former president at the rally last Saturday. Trump was injured, as were two others; a man in the crowd was killed. The agency has been under scrutiny over security lapses at the rally.

Trump advisers’ anger deepened after an agency spokesman publicly denied that any request for additional security lodged by Trump or his detail had ever been rejected. Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle, who has been under pressure to resign over security lapses at the rally, repeated that denial in a meeting with Trump campaign leadership in Wisconsin on Monday, people familiar with the discussions said.

“The assertion that a member of the former president’s security team requested additional security resources that the U.S. Secret Service or the Department of Homeland Security rebuffed is absolutely false,” said Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the Secret Service, in a statement on the day after the shooting.

After receiving detailed questions from The Washington Post, Guglielmi said the agency had learned new information indicating the agency’s headquarters may have in fact denied some requests for additional security from Trump’s detail and was reviewing documentation to understand the specific interactions better.

“The Secret Service has a vast, challenging, and intricate mission,” he said in a statement. “Every day we work in a dynamic threat environment to ensure our protectees are safe and secure across multiple events, travel, and other difficult environments. We execute a comprehensive and layered strategy to balance personnel, technology, and specialized operational needs.”

In response to a request for comment, a spokeswoman for the Trump campaign referred to a statement Trump posted on Truth Social praising his own Secret Service detail.

The extended tussle over safeguarding a former president who holds regular public events that draw large crowds raises new questions for the Secret Service, a long admired protection force that guards American presidents, their families and other senior officials. But it has been plagued by staffing shortages and hiring limits since 2010 and suffered a series of embarrassing security lapses during the Obama and Trump administrations.

A Secret Service official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly describe sensitive internal discussions, said the agency has finite resources and has to juggle competing demands, especially for its countersnipers, counterassault teams and the teams of uniformed division officers who help screen attendees for weapons at events using magnetometers.

The agency is currently responsible for security details for more than two dozen people, most of them requiring full-time security and a few others receiving what is informally called “door-to-door” protection from the moment they leave their homes. Protectees include the president and vice president and their families, as well as former presidents, candidates and a growing number of senior administration officials. After the Butler shooting, the agency added a protective detail to Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an independent presidential candidate, and is now protecting GOP vice-presidential nominee J.D. Vance as well.

Bill Gage, a former Secret Service agent who served on presidential protection and counterassault teams during the Bush and Obama administrations, said the agency is always drowning in far more requests and events than it can possibly handle with its hiring limits, and that leads to headquarters denying requests even more frequently during the busy campaign season.

“I hate to dumb it down this much but it is a simple case of supply and demand. The requests get turned down routinely,” Gage said. “A director has to finally come forward to say we are way understaffed and we cannot possibly continue with this zero fail mission without a significantly bigger budget.”

The Service’s Office of Protective Operations reviews security requests for events, and as part of a regular push-and-pull, it sometimes reconsiders initial denials after being persuaded the risk justifies the expense, officials have said. But it must balance the reality that each agent, countersniper or magnetometer assigned to cover one event reduces what is available for other people the service protects.

The weekend of the Butler shooting, the Secret Service had sent multiple countersniper teams and hundreds of agents to the Republican National Convention and was also securing an event by Jill Biden and a scheduled trip by President Biden to Austin the day after the shooting.

“It’s just true — we don’t have the resources to secure him [Trump] like we did when he was president,” the official said.

None of the denied requests that The Post reviewed related to the Pennsylvania rally. But one of the denials that most concerned Trump officials came as he held a rally in South Carolina in July 2023, one of the first large-scale events of his current campaign. Trump was speaking in a downtown square in Pickens, a small town 20 miles west of Greenville, at a site surrounded by commercial and residential buildings. People familiar with the request said that Trump’s security team asked for more countersnipers to be stationed on rooftops to guard against potential shooters or other attacks.

The people said the Pickens event was one of several in which Trump’s team was denied more tactical support. Trump’s detail was told Secret Service headquarters had determined they could not provide the resources after the detail made an extensive argument for why the teams were needed, they said.

Guglielmi said the Service is still reviewing the planning for the Pickens event but said local countersnipers rather than Secret Service teams were on hand to help address the threats of potential shooters.

On multiple other occasions, Trump’s team asked for magnetometers and additional help to screen attendees for Trump to attend sporting events, particularly wrestling matches and college football games, people familiar with those requests said. They were told no because the events were not campaign events.

In one instance, the Secret Service argued the screening was unnecessary because Trump would be entering a stadium to watch a football game via a secure elevator and then be guided through a secure area to a private suite with controlled access, according to a Secret Service official who reviewed some of the security requests.

“He was not going through the general population,” the official said. “You don’t need to mag the entire stadium” in those circumstances.

But Trump advisers said he often moved through open-air concourses at the games, interacting with large swaths of the public. Some Trump advisers were repeatedly concerned about his safety at the sporting events as he moved through the areas, people familiar with the matter said.

People around Trump were also concerned by what they feared was an insufficient number of magnetometers and security personnel at rallies, they said, including one in 2023 in Macomb, Michigan, where some attendees jumped over bike racks to get past security and were restrained by local police, according to people close to Trump who witnessed the episode.

Several Trump advisers said the denials had been a frustration for more than a year.

The Secret Service extends the highest level of protection to current presidents and officials. Former presidents receive a significantly lesser degree of Secret Service protection, but Trump’s high profile and daily routines make him a different kind of security challenge than most former presidents, according to former Secret Service agents.

Trump is also the first former president in modern times to run for reelection, which carries additional security burdens, though candidates are not provided the same level of security as sitting presidents.

Other former presidents only rarely make large, public appearances, living more private lives. Trump, on the other hand, is almost always around crowds, at his clubs and golf courses, and holds frequent campaign events attended by thousands, if not tens of thousands, particularly since he announced a new run for the presidency in November 2022.

Cheatle, a veteran Secret Service agent, has called the security failure at the rally on July 13 unacceptable, as a gunman was allowed to fire from an unsecured roof around 150 yards from where Trump addressed the crowd. The gunman was spotted acting suspiciously before Trump began speaking but the Secret Service did not intervene or prevent Trump from taking the stage.

The Secret Service and Trump’s orbit also argued over planning for the Republican National Convention, particularly over how large of a security perimeter the agency would impose. The relationship grew so acrimonious that senior Republicans repeatedly sought meetings with Secret Service leadership in Washington after battling with agents on the ground over security and logistics.

On Thursday, Trump senior adviser Chris LaCivita called for Cheatle to resign, as have a number of lawmakers in both parties. During the convention, several Republican senators chased Cheatle through the arena in Milwaukee, where she had traveled to brief them on the investigation. The senators screamed at her after she declined to answer questions about the attempted assassination.

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Former White House Doctor: Trump Shooting Left 2cm Wound in His Ear, Former Physician Says

The Trump campaign on Saturday shared new details on the former president’s health, one week after a shooter opened fire at a rally in Pennsylvania and struck Trump’s right ear.

The memo from Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas), Trump’s former White House physician, is the most detailed update yet on the former president’s injury — and emphasizes how close he was to being killed.

Jackson, in the written memo shared by the campaign, said the bullet came “less than a quarter of an inch from entering [Trump’s] head, and struck the top of his right ear.”

“The bullet track produced a 2 cm wide wound that extended down to the cartilaginous surface of the ear,” Jackson wrote.

“There was initially significant bleeding, followed by marked swelling of the entire upper ear,” he said.

Jackson, who wrote that he’s treated Trump daily since last weekend, said the swelling has “resolved” since then and that “the wound is beginning to granulate and heal properly.”

The health update comes the same day Trump took the stage for his first campaign rally since the shooting, which left one attendee dead and others injured.

Trump’s first public event came earlier this week, though, when he delivered a lengthy speech at the Republican National Convention in Wisconsin.

He wore a white dressing on his ear every night of the RNC, which many attendees imitated to show support.

“Based on the highly vascular nature of the ear, there is still intermittent bleeding requiring a dressing to be in place,” Jackson said Saturday. “Given the broad and blunt nature of the wound itself, no sutures were required.”

Jackson said Trump was first treated at Butler Memorial Hospital in Pennsylvania, where medical staff “provided a thorough evaluation for additional injuries that included a CT of his head.”

“He will have further evaluations, including a comprehensive hearing exam, as needed,” Jackson wrote. “He will follow up with his primary care physician, as directed by the doctors that initially evaluated him.”

“In summary, former President Trump is doing well, and he is recovering as expected.”

Jackson said he was traveling to Michigan to be with Trump for the rally Saturday and provide medical assistance as needed.

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Josh Hawley Went to Trump Rally Site for Answers — FBI Shut Him Out

Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) went to Butler County, Pennsylvania, on Friday in search of answers in the wake of last week’s attempt on the life of former President Donald Trump — and when he got there, he said the FBI made him leave.

Hawley, who also sent a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas demanding he account for numerous apparent security failures that led up to the assassination attempt, described what happened during a Friday evening appearance on “Hannity.”

“As the Senate prepares for hearings, today I went to Butler County to see the site of the shooting myself — and FBI told me to leave. We need ANSWERS. I won’t stop pushing until we get them,” Hawley captioned a video of the exchange.

“Where are your fellow Democrats?” Hannity asked Hawley. “Their silence is deafening to me. Why aren’t they more outraged over this?”

“I don’t know. I just don’t get it at all,” Hawley replied. “I’ll tell you one thing — today, Sean, when I went to the site, the FBI has got more security on that site now than they did the night that Trump was shot at. The FBI — totally late — and they’re trying to control the information, Sean, they tried to kick me off of the site. They said, ‘get out of here, you shouldn’t be on this site, we don’t want you here.’”

“Get this,” Hawley continued. “I’m there on the site, I had permission from the local security operator to be there, and they — the FBI — came out and said, ‘You have got to leave, we do not want you here.’ That’s what they’re trying to do, they’re trying to control it.”

The Secret Service has been in the hot seat since last Saturday, facing a number of questions beginning with how Trump’s would-be assassin was able to attain an elevated position less than 200 yards and with a direct line of sight to where the former president was speaking.

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Manchin: Biden Must ‘Pass the Torch’

Sen. Joe Manchin (I-W.Va.) became the fifth senator to call on President Biden to leave the presidential race on Sunday, urging the president to be a “uniter” and “pass the torch” to another Democratic candidate.

“I came to the decision with a heavy heart that I think it’s time to pass the torch to a new generation,” Manchin told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” on Sunday.

“I want him to be the president in the last five months of this presidency of his term, to do what he can do is unite our country, to calm down the rhetoric and be able to focus attention to peace in the world,” Manchin said.

“Campaigning, I’ve been to statewide campaigns many times, it’s an unbelievable challenge to anybody, to anybody physically, mentally, every way, shape and form. And right now, the country and the world needs our President Joe Biden, but the compassion he’s always had and the ability to bring people together to use all of his forces and energy towards that.”

Manchin also appeared on ABC’s “This Week,” telling Martha Raddatz that he’s concerned about Biden’s ability to go through with a full presidential reelection campaign despite confidence in his ability to lead.

“I think he has that ability,” Manchin told ABC. “You know, it’s the total of a campaign … is unbelievable. I can tell you on a statewide campaign — it’s relentless. I can only imagine on a national campaign.”

The former Democrat, who left the party in May, also advocated for an “open process” in the coming weeks to select a replacement.

“I think that we have a lot of talent on the bench, a lot of good people,” Manchin told CNN, adding that his top picks include Govs. Andy Beshear (D-Ky.) and Josh Shapiro (D-Pa.)

“I’ve got two tremendous governors right next door to me, and Andy Beshear in Kentucky and Josh Shapiro in Pennsylvania, who are operating with legislators either evenly split or completely opposite of their party affiliation,” he said. “They haven’t divided their state. They haven’t made you pick a side and demonize the other side. They brought people together. This is what an open process would do.”

The senator said an open process and selecting a younger candidate could encourage voters who have grown skeptical of establishment Democrats to return to the party.

“They have to win me back,” he added.

Sens. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) have also called on Biden to leave the race, as have numerous House members.

But Biden and his campaign have remained adamant that the president will be the Democratic nominee despite the rising calls from members of the party for him to step aside.

“Joe Biden has made it more than clear: he’s in this race, and he’s in it to win it. Moreover, he’s the presumptive nominee, there is no plan for an alternative nominee,” Dan Kanninen, Biden campaign battleground states director, wrote in a memo released after the Republican National Convention.

Vice President Harris is considered a front-runner should Biden step aside, a decision that is expected to be reached this week.

The Biden campaign again doubled down on the president’s commitment to the race in a statement to The Hill on Sunday.

“While the majority of the Democratic caucus and the diverse base of the party continues to stand with the President and his historic record of delivering for their communities, we’re clear-eyed that the urgency and stakes of beating Donald Trump means others feel differently,” spokesperson Mia Ehrenberg said. “Unlike Republicans, we’re a party that accepts – and even celebrates – differing opinions, but in the end, we will absolutely come together to beat Donald Trump this November.”

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