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Austin Congressman Lloyd Doggett calls on Biden to drop out of the presidential race

A person in a suit and tie speaks into microphones at a podium
Michael Minasi
/
KUT News
U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett speaks during a press conference in 2021. Doggett on Tuesday called on President Joe Biden to drop out of the presidential race.

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett called on President Joe Biden to step aside as the Democratic nominee for president.

With his statement Tuesday, Doggett became the first congressional Democrat to publicly ask the president to drop out after last week's dismal debate performance against former President Donald Trump.

"President Biden has continued to run substantially behind Democratic senators in key states and in most polls has trailed Donald Trump," Doggett wrote. "I had hoped that the debate would provide some momentum to change that. It did not. Instead of reassuring voters, the President failed to effectively defend his many accomplishments and expose Trump’s many lies."

Biden's performance in last week's debate shocked Democrats, opening up the prospect of replacing the sitting president ahead of the November election. The 81-year-old candidate doubled-down on his ability to take on Trump in the election, but doubts among Democrats have persisted over the last few days.

The longtime Austin representative said he respected Biden's record in Congress and in the White House, but that he didn't believe he could defeat Trump.

"My decision to make these strong reservations public is not done lightly nor does it in any way diminish my respect for all that President Biden has achieved," Doggett said. "Recognizing that, unlike Trump, President Biden’s first commitment has always been to our country, not himself, I am hopeful that he will make the painful and difficult decision to withdraw. I respectfully call on him to do so."

Late Tuesday, Julián Castro, who served in the Obama administration as secretary of Housing and Urban Development and ran against Biden for the Democratic nomination in 2020, announced he was also calling for the president to drop out.

"President Biden should fulfill his promise to be a bridge to the next generation of leadership — and allow a stronger Democratic candidate to prevent a disastrous second Trump term," Castro said in several posts on X, formerly known as Twitter. "Time is running out."

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at aweber@kut.org. Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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