Biden courts US donors amid concerns over presidential debate performance

Democratic donors have expressed concern, with some discussing prospects of replacing the president as their nominee.

United States President Joe Biden is trying to reassure donors after his performance during the first presidential debate with presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump rattled Democrats and caused serious doubts about his re-election prospects.

The president has been attending fundraisers in an effort to acknowledge concerns but also promise that he is not abandoning his campaign to command the White House for the next four years.

“I didn’t have a great night, but I’m going to be fighting harder,” Biden told attendees at a fundraiser at the home of New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on Saturday.

“Donald Trump is a genuine threat to the nation,” he said, adding that the former president would prove a threat to democracy and the US economy if he is re-elected.

Biden Trump
Biden, right, and Trump at the debate in Atlanta, Georgia [File: Brian Snyder/Reuters]

Biden and his wife, Jill, earlier attended a campaign event in the affluent neighbourhood of East Hampton in New York to get more funding.

Based on public records, the event, which was closed to the news media, took place at the home of Avram Glazer, an owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football team.

The couple then went to a second event in East Hampton at the home of investor Barry Rosenstein, whose wife, Lizanne, heaped praise on the president and defended his four-year record compared to that of Trump.

Biden focused on directing attention towards Trump, heavily criticising his presidential record and saying his performance was also poor during the debate on Thursday night.

The Biden campaign said it has raised more than $27m on Thursday and Friday, including $3m at a New York City fundraiser focused on the LGBTQ community.

Democratic donors have expressed deep concerns about the effectiveness of Biden’s re-election campaign following the debate performance, also looking at potential replacements.

The shortlist of possible replacements has so far included Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, California Governor Gavin Newsom, and Vice President Kamala Harris, all of whom have supported Biden.

But there has been no formal push so far for the president to step aside, and it remains unlikely such a push would materialise due to the hefty logistical and reputation costs of replacing the presumptive nominee just four months before the election.

“I might not walk as easily or talk as smoothly as I used to. I might not debate as well as I used to,” Biden told a campaign event on Friday. “But what I do know is how to tell the truth.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies