Inslee was part of Biden meeting with Democratic governors

Jul 3, 2024, 10:22 AM | Updated: Jul 4, 2024, 2:55 am

Image: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks at a press conference about hospitals in the state providi...

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks at a press conference about hospitals in the state providing emergency abortion services in Seattle on Tuesday, June 11, 2024. (Photo: Matt Markovich, KIRO Newsradio)

(Photo: Matt Markovich, KIRO Newsradio)

President Joe Biden met for more than hour at the White House on Wednesday night, in person and virtually, with more than 20 Democratic governors who afterward described the conversation as “candid” but said they were standing behind Biden despite being concerned about a Trump victory in November.

Biden has been attempting to solidify support among his party’s top leaders after last week’s shaky debate performance.

“The president is our nominee. The president is our party leader,” said Gov. Wes Moore of Maryland. He added that, in the meeting, Biden “was very clear that he’s in this to win.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said earlier Wednesday Biden would speak with Democratic governors and also hold calls with party leaders in Congress.

KIRO Newsradio confirmed early Wednesday that Washington Gov. Jay Inslee was among the governors who was set to attend.

According to his office, Inslee planned to attend the meeting virtually.

The meeting comes after Democratic governors held their own call previously and asked Biden to speak with them, according to three people with knowledge of the president’s schedule.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, chair of the Democratic Governors Association, said that on the previous call, governors spoke to “what was obviously a poor performance” in the debate with participants “asking questions about, what is the plan?”

David Fahrenthold: Biden will not be the Democratic nominee following ‘disastrous’ debate

Waltz said he expects Wednesday’s meeting to address “some of the same concerns.”.

Inslee appears at the meeting as Biden tries to calm party fears

The discussion with governors and Democratic congressional leaders is the strongest indication yet that Biden is attempting to calm fears among some Democrats, who worry he may not be up to continuing a campaign — much less defeat Donald Trump — following his sometimes raspy and halting performance during last week’s debate in Atlanta.

Biden denounced the Supreme Court ruling on presidential immunity on Monday night but had otherwise announced a largely politics-free and business-as-usual postdebate schedule — including planning to host July 4 celebrations at the White House for Thursday’s holiday.

Texas Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett called Tuesday for Biden to formally withdraw from the race, and that followed former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying on MSNBC that it is fair to ask whether Biden’s debate showing was an anomaly or part of a larger pattern.

“I think it’s a legitimate question to say, is this an episode or is this a condition,” Pelosi said.

‘Disaster’: KIRO, KTTH hosts roast Biden for CNN debate performance

A defiant Biden vowed Wednesday to keep running for reelection, rejecting growing pressure from Democrats to withdraw after a disastrous debate performance raised questions about his readiness to keep campaigning, much less win in November.

But increasingly ominous signs were mounting for the president. Two Democratic lawmakers have called on Biden to exit the race while a leading ally publicly suggested how the party might choose someone else. And senior aides said they believed he might only have a matter of days to show he was up to the challenge before anxiety in the party boils over.

“Let me say this as clearly as I possibly can as simply and straightforward as I can: I am running … no one’s pushing me out,” Biden said on a call with staffers from his reelection campaign. “I’m not leaving. I’m in this race to the end and we’re going to win.”

Not all of the party’s governors were expected to take part in the gathering. In Kansas, the office of Gov. Laura Kelly, who has broken with Biden in the past, particularly over COVID-19 vaccine mandates, would not say whether she would participate. Spokesperson Grace Hoge deferred to a statement Kelly issued Friday, after the president debate, calling Biden “a decent man of strong character” and saying that the governor “will support him in November.”

Contributing: The Associated Press; Charlie Harger, KIRO Newsradio; Steve Coogan, MyNorthwest

More on Gov. Jay Inslee:

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Inslee was part of Biden meeting with Democratic governors