Former Biden staffer calls for president to decline nomination after debate performance: ‘Very heavy heart’

Jamie Metzl, who worked for President Biden during the Clinton administration as deputy staff director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when Biden was a senator, told Fox News Digital the president shouldn’t accept the nomination for the Democratic ticket after Biden’s debate performance. 

“I have tremendous respect for Joe Biden. He’s my former boss. I think he’s a great person and a great American patriot. But I think most people seeing him in the debate last night would have to come to the conclusion that he may not have 4½ healthy years left where he can perform at the highest level that’s required for a United States president,” said Metzl, author of the book “Superconvergence: How the Genetics, Biotech, and AI Revolutions Will Transform Our Lives, Work, and World.” 

“And so, it’s with a very heavy heart and deep sadness that I’ve come to the conclusion that the best step for the Democratic Party and for the country is for President Biden to announce that he will not seek the Democratic Party’s nomination to be the presidential candidate,” Metzl said. 


Metzl said he believes Biden did an “excellent” job in his first term, adding that before he took office, “we had significant attacks on our democracy and literally an attack on our Capitol. Our alliances were in shambles. So, I think that President Biden has done actually a quite good job. Certainly not perfect. And there’s lots of things that I and we can and should criticize.”

He added that calling on Biden to drop out is not “a statement about his performance in his first term as president. It’s a statement about what is required to be the president of the United States for four years. And, unfortunately, Joe Biden, who I greatly respect, I don’t believe has that capacity anymore.” 

Biden at the debate

Jamie Metzl, who worked for President Biden, above, on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when Biden was a senator, told Fox News Digital the president shouldn’t accept the nomination for the Democratic ticket following Thursday night’s debate performance.  (Kyle Mazza/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Metzl explained that he worked with Biden nearly 25 years ago, and that he notices a “marked difference” between Biden then and now. 

“And that’s perfectly normal. We all have parents and grandparents, and we see that age is a very real thing even for a vigorous person like President Biden,” Metzl said. “When you get to be in your 80s, just the ravages of time catch up to us all. So, I have great respect for him, but I just think that we in the Democratic Party need to be brutally honest with ourselves. Because, if we’re not, the voters in November will certainly be brutally honest with us.”

Open convention

Metzl said while the Democratic Party has a provision for an open convention, I think it would be a mistake to begin this process then, because a person who is going to be the nominee needs to have legitimacy. Not just from being selected at the convention, but through some type of popular engagement and popular process. So, I think that President Biden should announce that he will not seek the nomination at some point over the next couple of days, and that anyone who wants to step forward should do so.”

He suggested that, over the next month, the candidates could have weekly debates about the leading candidates along with “old-fashioned retail politics at scale, where these candidates are going to have to, in a very condensed period of time, communicate who they are and what they stand for and engage with voters. This is not something that is comfortable. It would have been much better if we had had a regular primary, perhaps, beginning a year ago. But this is where we are now, and I think we need to make the most of it.” 

People watching the debate on TV

Metzl called watching the debate Thursday night “deeply painful.”  (Lokman Vural Elibol/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Biden didn’t have any serious primary challengers and quickly became the presumptive Democratic nominee. His team also insisted Friday he wouldn’t consider leaving the race. 

I don’t know what’s realistic and what’s not,” Metzl said when asked whether Biden would consider dropping out. “I certainly know that if President Biden and his team this morning had said, ‘We’re thinking about what’s the next step,’ it would have been game over from that point. So, they almost have to say, ‘We’re in it to win it’ now.”

‘Private conversations’

“And the question will be what happens over the next couple of days? Perhaps there’ll be additional polls that will give information. Perhaps, very likely, there are private conversations. But I do think that, after the performance last night, it will just be impossible for President Biden to rebrand himself to the American people.” 


Metzl said there are a number of Democratic candidates who could take Biden’s place, including Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, California Gov. Gavin Newsom or Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear.

I certainly think that there are some strong candidates,” he said. “But the problem is that, in our system, it takes a long primary year in many cases for people to get to know a candidate. Bill Clinton, Barack Obama were relative unknowns when they announced that they were running for the presidency. 

“And it took all of the give and take of the primaries for the electorate to get to know them. So, it’s going to be an extremely tall order for people who, whether they’re governors or senators or others who aren’t that well known to the general public, to become so well known over the next month or so that they would have some tailwinds coming into the Democratic convention in August.” 

Biden and Trump on the debate stage

Biden and Trump had their first of two presidential debates Thursday.  (Kyle Mazza/Anadolu via Getty Images)

While admitting it would be difficult for a replacement candidate to be able to beat Trump, Metzl said, I do think it’s possible. I do not think that Donald Trump is a strong candidate at all, and I don’t think the American people were well served by the choice.


“President Biden is clearly looking his age, and it was clear from the debate last night that President Trump is unrepentant, and that he’s standing by the attacks on the United States Capitol, standing by efforts to undermine the structures of American democracy, standing by his efforts to cast doubt on our entire electoral system. And, so, that’s why I’m certainly not a fan of Donald Trump. I believe Donald Trump poses a pretty significant threat to American democracy. But President Biden is just not presenting a level of vigor that will make voters believe he will be capable of carrying out the responsibilities of president over the next four and a half years.”

Time to move on

If Metzl could speak to Biden, he said he would tell him, “President Biden, you are a personal hero of mine. You’re a man of great ethics, great integrity. You’ve contributed a great deal to this country, which you love. And now for your perhaps last and greatest act of patriotism, it’s time for you to pass the torch to a new generation.”

But, Metzl said, he will vote for Biden if he’s still on the ticket in November because he believes Trump is “unfit to be the president of the United States.”

“By casting doubt on the electoral system, which, by all accounts, these last elections were the cleanest in American history, by supporting an attack on the capital of our own country, Donald Trump has made himself unfit for this role, in my view,” Metzl said.


Metzl said it would be difficult for him to “change my views” on Biden following the debate. 

Everybody saw the experience of the debate last night,” he said. “It was deeply painful. It was deeply sad. It felt to me like King Lear. And while I have a great love and respect for President Biden, I believe the time has come. And I believe that he has one last great act of patriotism left in him. And I believe that making a statement that he will not accept the party’s nomination for the presidency is that statement.” 

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