Biden firmly denounces calls to step aside from fellow Democrats: 'The voters have spoken'

Biden firmly denounces calls to step aside from fellow Democrats: 'The voters have spoken'
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden began a crucial week for his candidacy by seeking to stamp out growing criticism by fellow Democrats who want him to step aside in the race.

Phoning into MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Monday, the president said the voters have chosen him and dared his Democratic critics who want him out to challenge him at the party’s August convention.

“I’m getting so frustrated by the elites in the party. ... They know so much more,” Biden said, mockingly. “If any of these guys don’t think I should run, run against me. Go ahead. Announce for president — challenge me at the convention!”

And in a letter Monday to Democrats in Congress, Biden said he’s “not blind to” the concerns within his party about his re-election bid, some of which he allowed were in “good faith.”

“I wouldn’t be running again if I did not absolutely believe I was the best person to beat Donald Trump in 2024,” Biden wrote. “We had a Democratic nomination process and the voters have spoken clearly and decisively.”

“The voters — and the voters alone — decide the nominee of the Democratic Party,” he added.

“The question of how to move forward has been well-aired for over a week now. And it’s time for it to end. We have one job. And that is to beat Donald Trump,” Biden wrote. “Any weakening of resolve or lack of clarity about the task head only helps Trump and hurts us.”

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One senior Democratic aide confirmed Monday that offices had received the letter, which comes as both chambers of Congress return from recess for the first time since the Biden-Trump debate in Atlanta on June 27. Biden also published the full letter on Instagram.

Biden is expected to call more lawmakers this week after connecting with 20 last week — including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., and Reps. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and James Clyburn, D-S.C. — to reassure Democrats that their concerns are being heard by him, according to a campaign official.

On "Morning Joe," Biden said he’s not concerned when given a list of prominent Democrats who are calling on him to leave the race.

“I don’t think what those big names think,” Biden said. “They were wrong in 2020. They were wrong in 2022 about the red wave. They’re wrong in 2024.”

“I am not letting up,” Biden said.

Biden also made his case against Trump, saying that the U.S. will defeat the far right just as France did in its recent election.

“This is a guy who’s an extreme candidate. I can’t think of a candidate in my lifetime who’s been more extreme," the president said. "He makes George Wallace look like a patriot.”

In a positive sign for Biden, Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., the chair of the influential Congressional Black Caucus, issued a statement Monday declaring his support for the president.

“President Joe Biden is the nominee and has been selected by millions of voters across the country, including voters here in Nevada,” Horsford said, while adding that voters “know President Biden and Vice President Harris are fighting for them.”

“We’re not going back, we’re moving forward,” he said.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com