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Pelosi says it's up to Biden 'to decide if he's going to run'

By Lauren Sforza, Mychael Schnell - 7/10/24, 8:17 AM EDT

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Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Wednesday it is up to President Biden "to decide if he's going to run" as he faces increasing calls to step aside following last month’s lackluster debate performance, comments that fall short of an endorsement for the incumbent.

Asked on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” if Biden has her support to be the party’s nominee, Pelosi — who remains a key figure in the House Democratic Caucus — declined to weigh in, deferring to the president. 

"It's up to the president to decide if he is going to run," Pelosi said. "We're all encouraging him to make that decision. Because time is running short.

"But he's beloved, He is respected and people want him to make that decision, not me."

The remarks, however, do not jibe with Biden’s position — the president has been adamant that he is remaining in the race and has no plans to step aside, making clear that his decision has been made. 

“The Democratic nominee is me,” he told donors on a call Monday. 

Pressed on the matter during the MSNBC interview, Pelosi again yielded to Biden. 

“He has said he has made the decision, he has said firmly this week he is going to run. Do you want him to run?” MSNBC’s Jonathan Lemire asked. 

"I want him to do whatever he decides to do. And that's, that's the way it is. Whatever he decides, we go with," Pelosi responded, urging her colleagues to let the president focus on the NATO conference this week, which is taking place in Washington. 

“I’ve said to everyone, let’s just hold off, whatever you’re thinking, either tell somebody privately, but you don’t have to put that out on the table until we see how we go this week,” she said. 

Biden's rocky debate performance last month sparked concerns among Democrats about whether he is the best candidate to beat former President Trump in November — and whether he is capable of serving a second term. While a handful of Democrats have called for him to step aside, Biden has maintained that he will be staying in the race.

Seven House Democrats have publicly called on Biden to step aside thus far — Rep. Mikie Sherrill (N.J.) was the latest member to join that group on Tuesday — but sources say there are several more lawmakers who have expressed the same sentiment privately. 

Pelosi has previously shown her support for the incumbent following the debate and has rejected calling on him to step down from the top of the ticket.

Pelosi — who led House Democrats for nearly two decades before stepping down from leadership last year — is being closely watched amid the fallout from Biden’s disastrous debate performance last month. 

Some lawmakers have suggested that veteran members of the party — including Pelosi, former President Obama and Rep. James E. Clyburn (S.C.) — could have some influence on Biden’s 2024 decisionmaking if they determine he is not the best candidate to lead Democrats into November. 

Clyburn has been supportive of Biden, telling reporters on Tuesday after a closed-door House Democratic Caucus meeting “we’re ridin’ with Biden.”

Obama, similarly, backed Biden after the debate, writing on the social platform X: “this election is still a choice between someone who has fought for ordinary folks his entire life and someone who only cares about himself.” 

Updated at 9:12 a.m. EDT

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