Walz, other governors say they will continue to back Biden after meeting

After reports that Democratic governors had concerns about President Biden's re-election campaign following a bad debate performance, Governor Walz said a Wednesday meeting at the White House went well.

Since the debate for Biden, the president has faced increased questions about his mental fitness, with some of his fellow Democrats asking him to step aside in his election bid.

President Biden met with two dozen Democratic governors from different states and U.S. territories on Wednesday. Addressing the press after the meeting, Governor Walz said they had a "great conversation" with the president, affirming they would continue to back the president's re-election campaign.

"We're worried," admitted Walz. "Because of the threat of a Donald Trump presidency, it is not theoretical for governors. We served when Donald Trump was president."

"It was honest, it was candid," added Maryland Governor Wes Moore. "I always believe that when you love someone, you tell them the truth. I think we came in and we were honest about the feedback that we were getting. We were honest about the concerns we were getting from people. And we were honest about the fact that, as the president continued to tell us and to show us that he was all in, we said we would stand with him."

Biden says he isn't giving up

Hours before the White House meeting with Democratic governors, the Associated Press reported President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris joined campaign staff call to say they will continue to fight for reelection after last week's disastrous debate performance. 

"I am running. I am the leader of the Democratic Party. No one is pushing me out," Biden said, according to a top aide who posted his comment on X.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed at Wednesday's press briefing that Biden spoke privately with senior Democratic lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Delaware Sen. Chris Coons and South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn.

NY Times: Biden seriously considering stepping aside

The New York Times reported Wednesday that Biden has told a "key ally" that he is seriously considering whether to continue in the race. 

"The president, who the ally emphasized is still deeply in the fight for re-election, understands that his next few appearances heading into the holiday weekend — including an interview scheduled for Friday with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News and campaign stops in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — must go well," the report said.

"He knows if he has two more events like that, we’re in a different place" by the end of the weekend, the unnamed source told the Times. 

White House: NY Times report ‘absolutely false’

White House spokesman Andrew Bates disputed the report.

"That claim is absolutely false. If the New York Times had provided us with more than 7 minutes to comment, we would have told them so," he told Fox News Digital in a statement. 

Which governors are at the White House meeting?

Among the Democratic governors who were planning to attend in person were Tim Walz of Minnesota, who leads the Democratic Governors Association, J.B. Pritzker of Illinois, Maura Healey of Massachusetts, Daniel McKee of Rhode Island, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Andy Beshear of Kentucky and Gavin Newsom of California, according to their aides. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy were planning on attending virtually.

Biden, Harris having lunch

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris had lunch together on Wednesday, according to a pool report of the president's schedule. This meeting was in the President’s Private Dining Room was closed press.

Memo to calm Biden campaign staff

FOX News reports the Biden campaign on Wednesday sent out a new all-staff memo to calm concerns about his re-election chances following last week’s debate performance.

The memo, obtained by Fox News, highlights internal campaign polling that shows a still-close race with former President Donald Trump.

"We are going to see a few polls come out today and we want you all to hear from us on what we know internally and what we expect to come externally," the memo reads. "Polls are a snapshot in time and we should all expect them to continue to fluctuate – it will take a few weeks, not a few days, to get a full picture of the race." 

15-minute all-staff meeting

Seung Min Kim, reporting for the Associated Press: White House chief of staff Jeff Zients, during a 15-minute all-staff meeting on Wednesday, urged people to tune out the "noise" and focus on the task of governing as senior aides scramble to contain the political fallout from Biden’s debate performance.

Zients also encouraged aides to "continue being a team" and, while acknowledging the increasing political chatter, to "tune it out" and stay disciplined, according to the official, who was granted anonymity to relay Zients’ private remarks. Zients also urged White House staff to ask questions and offer feedback.

Questioning the Dems' decisions

With the most recent poll from CNN showing Biden trailing Trump by six points, at least one Democrat in congress is questioning the party's decisions.

"I remain hopeful that, despite all the input from his own staff and perhaps from some family members, that he'll look at these numbers and realize that this is a hill just too high for him to climb and call on someone else," said Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX).

AP: Risks and rewards as Harris elevated

Chris Magerian, reporting for the Associated Press: But for now, Harris is Biden’s top advocate as he faces calls to shake up his campaign or end his reelection effort. Her presence has been a balm for some anxious Democrats, such as the donors who gathered for a fundraiser in Los Angeles on Saturday.

Harris paced the stage with a handheld mic — Biden sometimes uses teleprompters even during fundraisers — as she acknowledged "the elephant in the room," meaning Thursday’s debate. Then she swung her focus to Trump, who she described as a liar and a threat to democracy.

"You see how much hasn’t changed?" Harris said. "So, let’s deal with what we’ve got, right?"

Griffin said "there was this sigh of relief" from donors afterward. Some said "we want to see more of that" or "the gloves are really off."

Trump campaign on the attack

The Trump campaign slammed the White House and the Biden campaign for calling former President Donald Trump's mental acuity into question.

"Never in history has a debate resulted in a candidate’s own donors and surrogates pondering whether their candidate should stay in the race, until now," Trump campaign press secretary Karoline Leavitt told Fox News Digital.

AP: Biden's family tells him to stay in race

President Joe Biden's family on Sunday gathered at Camp David and urged him to stay in the presidential race despite a poor debate performance last week against former President Donald Trump, according to the Associated Press. 

Some members of Biden’s family also criticized how the president’s staff prepared him for the televised debate, the AP reported, citing four people familiar with the discussions.

Can Biden be replaced?

It would be nearly impossible for Democrats to replace Biden based on several factors. 

Delegates: Every state has already held its presidential primary. Democratic rules mandate that the delegates Biden won remain bound to support him at the party's upcoming national convention unless he tells them he’s leaving the race, according to the AP. 

Kamala Harris: Vice President Kamala Harris is Biden's running mate, but that doesn't mean she can swap in for him at the top of the ticket by default. Biden also can't decree that she replace him should he suddenly decide to leave the race.

What about a Dem challenger? Other candidates who Biden defeated during the party’s 2020 presidential primary could try again, including Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, as well as Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Biden back on campaign trail

The White House says the president will be much more engaged with the campaign in the weeks ahead. That will include a rally in Madison, Wisconsin this Friday.

FOX News Digital and the Associated Press contributed to this report