“But I will defeat him,” President Biden said after estimating that 50 Democrats could beat the former president in next year’s election.
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President Biden said on Wednesday that “probably 50” Democrats could defeat former President Donald J. Trump in next year’s election.
President Biden conceded on Wednesday that he is not the only Democrat who could beat former President Donald J. Trump in next year’s election, but he made clear that he intends to remain in the race rather than pass the torch to a new generation.
Mr. Biden’s re-election campaign appeal to his fellow party members has been predicated on the argument that he is the Democrat best equipped to keep his impeached and indicted predecessor out of the Oval Office. But the president was asked on Wednesday whether he believed any other Democrats could prevail over Mr. Trump.
“Probably 50 of them,” Mr. Biden said. “I’m not the only one who could defeat him. But I will defeat him.”
The president’s remark came amid widespread doubts about that among Democrats, who worry that his low poll ratings foreshadow an uphill campaign to keep Mr. Trump away from the White House. At a campaign fund-raiser in the Boston area on Tuesday, Mr. Biden said that “if Trump wasn’t running, I’m not sure I’d be running,” suggesting just how much his predecessor motivated his decision to run again at age 81.
While polls show most Democrats would rather have someone else represent the party in next year’s election, Mr. Biden’s case for another nomination has been bolstered by the reality that there is no obvious replacement who inspires widespread confidence among Democrats that they could beat Mr. Trump.
Mr. Biden faces only long-shot challengers in the Democratic primaries in the form of Representative Dean Phillips of Minnesota and Marianne Williamson, the author. But several other ambitious Democrats are waiting in the wings in case for some reason Mr. Biden changes course and drops out, including Vice President Kamala Harris and Govs. Gavin Newsom of California, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and J.B. Pritzker of Illinois.
Speaking with reporters after delivering a statement about Ukraine aid on Wednesday, Mr. Biden also dismissed Republican attacks on his family’s business interests as House Republicans pursue impeachment. Asked if he had met with his son Hunter Biden’s business associates from other countries like China and Ukraine, Mr. Biden said: “I did not. It’s just a bunch of lies.”
Peter Baker is the chief White House correspondent for The Times. He has covered the last five presidents and sometimes writes analytical pieces that place presidents and their administrations in a larger context and historical framework. More about Peter Baker
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