Joe Biden’s ‘Lord Almighty’ Interview Fails to Calm Panicked Democrats

President Joe Biden was asked Friday night by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos if he was “convinced” he could not beat Donald Trump, “will you stand down?”

In his first interview following last week’s poor debate performance and amid calls by Democrats for him to exit the 2024 presidential race, Biden replied, “If the Lord Almighty comes down and tells me that, I might do that.”

After the interview, the comment didn’t seem to quell the nerves of Democrats, concerned about losing the presidency and House seats, along with the Senate majority, with Biden leading the top of the ticket.

Biden in Delaware
U.S. President Joe Biden disembarks from Air Force One upon arrival at Delaware Air National Guard Base in New Castle, Delaware, July 5, 2024, as he travels to his home in Wilmington, Delaware.

AFP/Getty Images

Representative Lloyd Doggett of Texas, the first House Democrat to call on Biden to drop out of the presidential election, even referenced Biden’s “Lord Almighty” quote in an interview on CNN Friday night.

Doggett said “he doesn’t understand” why the Biden campaign doesn’t seem to acknowledge significant slips in national and Battleground State polling.

“We may not be the Lord Almighty calling from on high. But from Maine to Washington …from Chicago…from Arizona. From people from all over the country saying, the risk of a Trump presidency to destroy our democracy…to take over our government and never give it back again, is so great that we’ve got to have our strongest candidate,” Doggett told CNN’s Jim Sciutto. “Every day he delays in making that decision, it makes it more difficult.”

Biden was adamant throughout Friday’s much-anticipated interview that he is the best choice to “defeat” Trump in November. The 81-year-old president repeatedly pressed back on polling data pointed to by Stephanopoulos that shows the former president in the lead since last week’s debate. The interviewer also highlighted Biden’s slipping approval rate, which according to FiveThirtyEight sat at 36.9 percent as of Friday.

When asked if the polls are an indication that 2024 would be “much tougher to win,” Biden responded, “Not when you’re running against a pathological liar.”

Senator John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, among Biden’s most steadfast supporters, said Friday night on CNN, “Democrats need to get a spine or grow a set—one or the other. Joe Biden is our guy.”

Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois, the fourth House Democrat to call on Biden to exit the race, was asked later on CNN about Fetterman’s comments. Quigley replied, “I think what takes a spine is to step aside and recognize the president of the United States doesn’t have the vigor necessary to overcome the deficit here, and it’s going to affect us all.”

Newsweek emailed the Biden campaign for comment Friday night.

Doggett and Quigley aren’t the only Democrats worried that the Biden campaign seems to be singing a different tune than voters and concerned lawmakers.

“Did he change the minds of voters? I don’t really think so,” former Barack Obama adviser David Axelrod said in a panel interview on CNN after the interview. “Some of it I found sad. He seems not to be able to compute the fact that people have these questions about him.”

He continued, “When asked about the cognitive test, he said, ‘I take a cognitive test every day.’ That may be true, but 75 percent of American people think he fails that test. It’s a real problem for him, and it’s something that shows in every poll as far as where he stands in the race.”

Axelrod also pointed out the absence of Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin at Biden’s rally in Madison, noting that appearing with Biden could be seen as a detriment to her own reelection campaign.

Axelrod also seemed to call back to Biden’s “Lord Almighty” comment. He said the president’s family and advisers should be more honest with the president about his capacity to stay in the race.

“It can’t be the good Lord, but it should be the people that love and care for him and his closest advisers,” Axelrod said. “His portrait of where he is in this race doesn’t comfort with reality.”

Van Jones, who also worked in the Obama White House, praised Biden for not “hiding” behind a teleprompter for the one-on-one interview. However, he doesn’t think Biden did enough to stop the panic inside the Democratic Party.

“Is what you see good enough to defeat Donald Trump? That is an honest question,” Jones said on CNN’s panel. “I don’t think he put those questions to rest.”

Jones quipped that “Lord Almighty” could, eventually, mean a couple of different names.

“One of those names in Nancy Pelosi. One of those names is [James] Clyburn. At a certain point, those two people who he definitely respects may need to walk in there.”