Harris defends ‘fighter’ Biden as some Democrats call for him to step aside

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Vice President Harris on Thursday defended President Biden as a “fighter” and forcefully attacked former President Trump during a campaign rally in Nevada as some Democrats called for Biden to step aside as the party’s nominee. 

Harris embarked on a multi-state swing, finding herself in a complicated position. She has been a fierce defender of Biden as questions swirl around his future on the ticket, even as she is the most likely replacement should he step aside. In Las Vegas, Harris made a brief reference to the drama that has engulfed the party.

“We always knew this election would be tough, and the past few days have been a reminder that running for president of the United States is never easy,” Harris said. “But the one thing we know about our president, Joe Biden, is that he is a fighter. He is a fighter. And he is the first to say, when you get knocked down, you get back up.

“Many of us know what that is,” she continued. “So we continue to fight. And we will continue to organize. And in November, we will win.”

Harris spoke shortly after Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.) became the seventh House Democrat to publicly urge Biden to stand down as the nominee. Several Democrats in the House and Senate have said Biden must do more to show he can aggressively campaign and make the case for a second term.

But the overwhelming majority of Democratic lawmakers have rallied behind Biden as the president has made clear he has no plans to step aside. The White House has touted its support from the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, as well as lawmakers like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), to argue it has broad support.

Democrats emerged Tuesday from a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill in which the debate was lopsided in favor of keeping the president on the ticket.

In the event Biden does step aside, Harris would emerge as the likeliest candidate to take his place. Voters backed her and Biden in primaries across the country, and any move to pass over the first woman and woman of color to serve as vice president would risk significant backlash.

On Thursday, Harris was largely focused on the stakes of November’s election, which she called the “most existential, consequential and important election of our lifetime.” She announced the endorsement of multiple Asian American and Pacific Islander groups as the Biden campaign launched an outreach initiative to win over those voters.

She warned Trump would roll back basic rights and referenced Project 2025, a blueprint of policy ideas crafted by a conservative think tank for the next GOP administration that Trump has tried to distance himself from.

Harris also highlighted last week’s Supreme Court ruling that granted Trump immunity for “official acts,” a move the vice president argued would make it easier for Trump “to turn our democracy into a dictatorship.”

The vice president took a swipe at the gap in coverage between Biden’s age and fitness for office and what Trump would do if reelected.

“There are some issues that require, I think, a lot more attention from the press,” she said. “And there are some issues that sadly have not been covered to the extent that they should, commensurate with the seriousness of the matter.”

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