New York Times editorial board urges Biden to drop out after Trump debate: ‘Engaged in a reckless gamble’

World News

The New York Times editorial board called for President Joe Biden to drop out of the presidential race on Friday, marking one of the highest-profile calls for Biden to step aside, following a rocky debate performance Thursday night that triggered concern from Democrats.

The debate took place Thursday night. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

Key Takeaways
  • The scathing opinion piece said Biden struggled to debate against Donald Trump on Thursday night and appeared “as the shadow of a great public servant,” citing his inability to finish sentences and respond to Trump’s prodding.
  • The newspaper characterized Biden as “an admirable president” who is “engaged in a reckless gamble,” one the Times said other Democratic leaders are better equipped to handle.
  • The Times noted Biden was the one to challenge Trump to a debate and in doing so, had the ability to soothe concerns about his mental health early in the race—an opportunity the president failed to capitalize on, the newspaper said.
  • The Times did not waver in its criticism of Trump despite scrutinizing Biden, saying the former president has proven to be a jeopardy to the future of American democracy as “an erratic and self-interested figure unworthy of the public trust,” while adding the newspaper will still endorse Biden if he and Trump are the options.
Crucial Quote

“Mr. Biden is not the man he was four years ago,” the editorial board wrote.

Chief Critic

Biden told White House pool reporters early Friday he believed “we did well” during Thursday’s debate, brushing off concerns about his performance by saying “it’s hard to debate a liar.” However, Biden later acknowledged concerns about his age during a campaign speech Friday afternoon, saying, “I don’t walk as easy as I used to, I don’t speak as smoothly as I used to, I don’t debate as well as I used to,” but added: “When you get knocked down, you get back up.”

Key Background

Biden and Trump squared off on topics such as abortion, immigration and the economy during Thursday’s debate, engaging in name-calling and even trailing off into a tangential spat about golf handicaps—but the largest headlines generated by the meeting revolved around Biden’s verbal miscues.

Calls for Biden to drop out of the presidential race ensued Thursday night and spilled into Friday evening. No major elected Democrats have backed those calls, but other influential voices—like Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who described Biden as a friend—have urged the president to step aside.

Vice President Kamala Harris, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker are just some of Biden’s potential replacements if the 81-year-old drops out from the race, which would create an unprecedented rush for a new Democratic candidate.

What We Don’t Know

How much attention Biden will pay to the Times editorial. Despite close ties to writers like Friedman, he’s had a less-than-smooth relationship with the paper. The editorial board did not endorse him in the 2020 primaries, and Politico wrote earlier this year about a brewing spat between the newspaper (which faults Biden for not granting it an interview) and the White House (which has reportedly taken issue with some of the paper’s coverage).

This article was first published on and all figures are in USD.

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