Joe Biden 'declines' to step aside; wants 'drama to end'

FILE-President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event at Montgomery County Community College January 5, 2024 in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. In his first campaign event of the 2024 election season, Biden stated that democracy and fundamental freedoms a

President Joe Biden is not leaving the presidential race after some Democrats called for him to drop out following his performance in the first debate against Donald Trump. 

Biden wrote a two-page letter to congressional Democrats calling for an "end" to the drama within the political party. 

In the letter, obtained by the Associated Press, the president wrote that "the question of how to move forward has been well-aired for over a week now. And it’s time for it to end." He stressed that the party has "one job," which is to defeat Trump in November.

RELATED: Biden acknowledges debate performance: 'I know how to do this job'

"We have 42 days to the Democratic Convention and 119 days to the general election," Biden said in the letter, distributed by his reelection campaign. "Any weakening of resolve or lack of clarity about the task ahead only helps Trump and hurts us. It’s time to come together, move forward as a unified party, and defeat Donald Trump."

Democrats who have worked with Biden for years are discussing uncomfortable questions about his political future as the president prepares to host world leaders for the NATO summit this week in Washington.

RELATED: List of top Democrats who have called on Biden to exit race

The Associated Press reported House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries is gathering legislators for private meetings before he shows his own preference, according to a person familiar with the situation and granted anonymity to discuss it. 

On Monday, Jeffries plans to meet with Democrats whose bids for reelection are most vulnerable.

In a private call Sunday, 15 top House, 15 top House committee members exposed the disconnect existing within the Democratic party regarding Biden staying in the presidential election. 

Which Democrats are calling for Biden to drop out of the presidential race?

  • Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York
  • Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut
  • Rep. Adam Smith of Washington
  • Rep. Mark Takano of California
  • Rep. Angie Craig of Minnesota
  • Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois
  • Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts
  • Rep. Raúl Grijalva of Arizona
  • Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas

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But Biden still has support from Democrats to stay in the race, including Rep. Maxine Waters of California and Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia, both leaders in the Congressional Black Caucus, spoke forcefully in support of Biden, as did Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts, the top Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee.

Some of Biden's loyal supporters are continuing the fight for his presidency, emphasizing there's no one better to beat Trump in what many believe is one of the most important elections of a lifetime.

RELATED: Joe Biden 'declines' to step aside; wants 'drama to end'

While the president admitted the debate didn't go the way he would have liked, he maintains he's ready to fight for a second term in the White House. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.  This story was reported from Washington, D.C.