Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) on Sunday urged President Joe Biden to “pass the torch” and implied voters are not keen on him running for reelection, in one of the most vocal calls for an alternative to Biden for the 2024 election from within his own party.
In an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, Phillips said the issue was not necessarily Biden’s age, but how people are feeling about him and added: “People want to turn the page.”
Phillips praised Biden, saying he “saved the country” as he urged the president to “cement his legacy” by passing “the torch” to someone else.
Phillips said he was aware that his comments would be “unpopular” among Democrats, but said Biden was down 7 points in “four swing states” which will “decide the next election.”
Phillips did not mention if he intends to run himself, but said he would like to see “a moderate governor, hopefully from the heartland.”
When prompted by interviewer Chuck Todd with the names of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, Phillips said all those names “would be great,” adding Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker to the list.
Phillips said: “I’m representing what I believe to be the majority of the country that wants to turn the page, tired of the meanness and fear-mongering of Donald Trump…We’d like to see Joe Biden, a wonderful and remarkable man, pass the torch, cement this extraordinary light.”
Biden is not the first Democrat that Phillips has urged to retire. Earlier this year, he urged Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)—who was unable to serve on the Senate for several months due to an illness—to resign. Phillips later reiterated his comments in an op-ed for Daily Beast, writing: “by choosing to remain in the Senate, Sen. Feinstein risks tarnishing her remarkable legacy and the sacred oath she took as a United States senator.”