WaPo column against Biden seeking re-election should make White House fear ‘stampede,’ critics say
Democrats backing President Biden’s 2024 bid should take a hard look at journalist David Ignatius’ Washington Post column suggesting both Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris should not seek re-election, critics told FOX News on Wednesday.
Ignatius’ column was markedly friendly to Biden’s tenure in office but claimed a re-election bid could “risk undoing his greatest achievement” in ousting former President Donald Trump. He went on to say Biden’s age and Harris’ unpopularity have become concerns even among Democratic voters.
On “The Story,” both 2024 Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley and former George W. Bush White House press secretary Ari Fleischer warned the column from a ideologically-friendly camp should be concerning Biden and Democrats.
Fleischer said the column must “sting deeply inside the White House” in the same way as New York Times writer Maureen Dowd’s column criticizing Biden for failing to acknowledge his seventh grandchild, Navy Joan Roberts.
Fleischer said Dowd’s column appeared to spur Biden to finally acknowledge his son Hunter’s daughter out-of-wedlock.
“If you’re at the White House, you got to be saying, ‘We’ve got to prevent other David Ignatiuses from writing this same story because it could become a stampede’,” he added.
“This has been Joe Biden’s greatest vulnerability all along: It’s not what Republicans say. It’s if Democrats ask him to step down, thank him for his service and look to the next generation.”
Fleischer added that the White House does not hold much credence in right-leaning reporters but that ones more deferential to the administration do have some sway.
“This is thin ice for the Biden White House,” he said, adding that it would be “political malpractice” for Democrats not to have a backup plan, should Biden and Harris drop out or be convinced to do so.
Over the past year, several prominent blue-state governors have been name-dropped in connection with potential Democratic bids to replace Biden if necessary, most notably Gavin Newsom of California and J.B. Pritzker of Illinois.
A 2022 New York Magazine piece on the matter cited Pritzker as well as Roy Cooper of North Carolina and Phil Murphy of New Jersey as potential names. The piece claimed Murphy’s higher ambitions are among the “worst-kept secrets” in Washington.
In an interview just last month, the Lancaster NBC affiliate asked newly-minted Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro if he too has presidential ambitions: Shapiro, who was previously the Commonwealth attorney general and one of several such officials nationwide who defended COVID shutdown policies in court, replied he’s focused on Harrisburg “and this job only.”
A New York Times piece from May dubbed Pritzker the Democrats’ “in-case-of-emergency-break-glass” candidate, and cited his billionaire status as heir to the Hyatt Hotels chain, which could be helpful in such a bid.
On FOX News, Nikki Haley said America wants a new “generational leader” and that the United States Senate has also become “the most privileged nursing home in the country.”
“We need to these people to know when to leave. They need to know when to get out of the way,” she said.
“[L]ook at Biden: I’m not running against Joe Biden. I’m running against Kamala Harris. No one believes that Joe Biden’s going to actually perform in his term. Everybody knows he’s doing this to win and then Kamala is going to be it.”
She argued officials from former President Barack Obama’s administration are exerting influence over Biden’s term, and reiterated that Harris is an unviable potential world leader.
“That’s why [Ignatius] wants her off the stage too, but no one has faith in Joe Biden,” she said.
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