As calls mount for Biden’s withdrawal and resignation, White House pushes ahead with war policies

The White House and the Biden re-election campaign held a series of crisis meetings Wednesday amid mounting calls from the corporate media and leading Democrats for Biden to withdraw from the presidential election and allow the Democratic Party to nominate an alternative candidate.

The most far-reaching appeal came from The Atlantic magazine, which published an editorial calling not just for Biden to end his candidacy but his presidency as well. The editorial urged Biden to resign and thus allow Vice President Kamala Harris to assume power as his successor. This would also make her the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination and prevent a contested convention next month.

President Joe Biden looks on at a campaign rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, on June 28, 2024. [AP Photo/Matt Kelley]

The Boston Globe joined the New York TimesAtlanta Journal-Constitution and Chicago Tribune in urging Biden to withdraw as a candidate for re-election after his disastrous performance in last Thursday’s debate with fascist Republican ex-President Donald Trump where he appeared befuddled and unable to complete a sentence, let alone make an argument.

The Globe declared:

Serious questions are now in play about his ability to complete the arduous work of being leader of the free world. Can he negotiate with a hostile Republican Congress, dangerous foreign powers, or even fractious rivals within his own Cabinet? The nation’s confidence has been shaken.

By “nation,” of course, the newspaper means the corporate ruling elite.

A second Democratic congressman, Raul Grijalva of Arizona, publicly urged Biden to step aside as the party’s nominee, joining Lloyd Doggett of Texas. Three other Democrats have flatly declared that Biden will lose the election, while stopping short of urging him not to run: Jared Golden of Maine and Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, both military combat veterans, and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez of Washington state.

Reuters reported that a letter from 25 Democratic members of the House of Representatives is now circulating, calling on Biden to end his bid for re-election. Unnamed members said they expected the letter and its list of supporters would not surface until after the Fourth of July holiday weekend and likely with many more names added.

In a conference call with campaign staff, with Harris joining as well, Biden declared that he would not be pushed out of the election. But he offered no way to offset the devastating impact of the nationally televised debacle.

Inside the White House, Chief of Staff Jeffrey Zients held a conference call with the entire presidential staff, although it was entirely one-sided. The call lasted only 10 minutes, Zients took no questions, and he urged all White House employees to keep their heads down and focus on their day-to-day work.

Zients also reportedly held his regular weekly virtual meeting with the members of Biden’s cabinet, without either Biden or Harris participating, with little information leaking out except the fact of the meeting itself.

Biden himself was reportedly engaged in a series of phone calls with top Democratic congressional leaders—astonishingly, he had apparently not spoken with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, or anyone else in the House or Senate leadership since his disastrous performance in last Thursday night’s debate with Trump.

Nor had Biden spoken with a single one of the nearly two dozen Democratic governors, including those in states vital to his re-election campaign, such as Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona and North Carolina. Biden did hold a conference call with all the Democratic governors on Wednesday night, with no details yet available as of this writing.

In its last-ditch efforts to head off the meltdown of Biden’s political support, the White House is focusing on his role as “commander-in-chief” and principal architect of the US-NATO war against Russia in Ukraine.

At the first formal White House press briefing since last week’s debate, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre began by announcing “a significant new security assistance package for Ukraine.”

She added:

This announcement is the seventh security assistance package President Biden has authorized to help Ukraine since he signed the national security supplemental in April. It includes missiles for Ukraine’s air defense systems, ammunition for high mobility artillery, rocket systems, artillery rounds, and other critical capabilities being drawn down from US stocks.

What followed, however, was a barrage of questions about Biden’s debate performance, his health, whether he would quit the election campaign or even resign from office. Jean-Pierre replied “absolutely not” to all such suggestions.

A new round of questions focused on whether Biden would be capable of leading next week’s NATO summit in Washington, marking the 75th anniversary of the US-led military alliance. There were suggestions that major foreign leaders, both antagonists and “allies,” must be questioning the ability of the United States to maintain its dominance, given the stark decline in the capacities of the American president.

The Democratic/media campaign for Biden’s withdrawal has been accompanied by hosannas for his supposed achievements in foreign affairs and domestic policy: A wonderful presidency, too bad about the mental deterioration.

This has been combined with a tentative effort to build up the stature of Vice President Harris, the subject of widespread scorn and derision during the first two years of the administration.

This maneuvering only underscores that for the dominant sections of the capitalist ruling elite—Wall Street and the military-intelligence apparatus—the goal is to remedy the evident crisis in its leading personnel without making the slightest change in policy. They do not trust Trump, viewing him as impulsive and ignorant, and unreliable on such vital issues as the war in Ukraine against Russia.

While Biden’s personal decline has triggered the present crisis, the underlying causes are far deeper, arising from the fundamental contradictions of capitalism as a world system. Otherwise, how is the sudden concatenation of global crises to be explained: The breakdown of the United States, the fall of the British Tory government after 14 years, the rout of Macron in France by the neo-fascist party of Marine Le Pen, the explosion of mass protests over genocide in Gaza, the crumbling position of the US-NATO puppet regime in Ukraine.

Underlying these political explosions, albeit hardly even referred to in the corporate media, is the steady deterioration in the world financial situation, which is reaching the point where a colossal crisis could break out at any time, dwarfing such episodes as the dot.com crash of 2001, the Wall Street crash of 2008-2009, and the Treasury market freeze triggered by COVID-19 in 2020. By one calculation, global indebtedness has reached $91 trillion, and no government has the resources to bail out the capitalist ruling class in the event of a new financial earthquake on that scale.

As for the United States, its entire institutional stability is being called into question in the wake of the Supreme Court decision issued Monday declaring the US president above the law, a king in all but name. For large sections of the US ruling elite, this decision means that a return of Trump to the White House could threaten them with physical destruction or the prospect of open civil war between states controlled by the opposition party and the quasi-monarch in Washington.

Trump has already been celebrating the court ruling, tweeting, retweeting and “liking” postings to his Truth Social platform that call for him to use these new powers for the arrest, trial and execution of leading Democrats, from Biden and Harris to Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff and Gavin Newsom. It should not be forgotten that the last Trump election campaign coincided with the fascist plot to kidnap and murder Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, now touted as a possible stand-in on the Democratic presidential ticket.