Trump claims Biden is quitting election – and calls vice president ‘pathetic’

US

Donald Trump has claimed Joe Biden is quitting the presidential race after his poor performance in last week’s debate and criticised vice president Kamala Harris as “so f*****g bad”.

He made the comments in a clip on his Truth Social site that showed him speaking from a golf buggy.

Mr Biden‘s showing against Trump was widely criticised and has led to growing concern about his health and some calls for him to quit November’s election – but he’s insisted he will carry on.

In the video, Trump tells an unidentified person: “He just quit, you know – he’s quitting the race… and that means we have Kamala (Harris).

“I think she’s going to be better,” he jokes. “She’s so pathetic, she’s so f****** bad.

“Can you imagine… dealing with Putin, the president of China – who’s a fierce person, he’s a fierce man, a very tough guy…

“They’ve just announced he’s (Biden) probably quitting,” Trump adds.

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It’s unclear what his claims are based on as Mr Biden, 81, said on Wednesday he wouldn’t be pushed out, telling supporters: “I’m not leaving. I’m in this race to the end.”

However, the president’s polling numbers have slipped and US media reported he’s told an ally that his performances in the next week are vital – a claim denied by the White House.

Image:
Trump said Kamala Harris was ‘pathetic’ Pic: AP

On Tuesday, Mr Biden said he had nearly fallen asleep during the TV debate due to a recent hectic travel schedule.

But his stumbling performance, in which he gave muddled answers and spoke with a weak voice, reportedly caused panic in the Democratic Party and sparked speculation about whether it would try to replace him.

Questions over his mental acuity have escalated in recent months after he appeared to freeze during several public appearances.

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2:43

Biden v Trump: Highlights from the debate

Mr Biden’s nomination to go up against Trump is set to be rubberstamped at the party’s convention in August and the only realistic way he could be replaced is if he decided himself to step down.

If he did quit, Kamala Harris would likely be a contender – while California governor Gavin Newsom and Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer are also being tipped.

The exact process of how they might be chosen is unclear.

For now, President Biden is publicly showing no signs of stepping back and held a virtual meeting with 24 governors on Wednesday to try to reassure them he’s up to the job.

Read more:
Is the first lady counselling Joe to stay in the race?
Who is California governor who could replace Biden?

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1:03

‘I don’t walk as easy as I used to’

The governors of Maryland, Minnesota and New York told reporters afterwards that they still supported him.

However, a few Democrats have now come out and urged him to withdraw, including Arizona representative Raul Grijalva and Seth Moulton from Massachusetts.

“The unfortunate reality is that the status quo will likely deliver us President Trump,” Mr Moulton said in a statement. “President Biden is not going to get younger.”

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The co-founder of Netflix, Reed Hastings, a major party donor, has also urged Mr Biden to call it a day and pressure could become overwhelming if more big backers follow suit.

All eyes are now on the president’s performance in an interview with ABC News on Friday, which will be scrutinised for any more fumbles or listlessness.

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