House Democrat says people want to ‘turn the page’ on Biden

Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), who has floated a presidential primary contest against President Biden, said Sunday people want to “turn the page” on the incumbent president when it comes to 2024.

“People want to turn the page,” Phillips told NBC “Meet The Press” moderator Chuck Todd. “I think that’s fair to say. As a Democrat, I adore Joe Biden. He saved this country. He can cement his legacy. My real call to action right now is not about me. The call to action is to ask the president to pass the torch.” 

When asked if he does not want Biden to run for reelection, Phillips said he believes a majority of people “want to move on.”

“I’m representing what I believe to be the majority of the country that wants to turn the page, tired of the meanness and fearmongering of Donald Trump,” Phillips said. “We’d like to see Joe Biden, a wonderful and remarkable man, pass the torch, cement this extraordinary legacy.”

Phillips, who has not definitively said if he will run against Biden, said he would like to a see a moderate governor, “hopefully from the heartland, from one of the four states that Democrats will need,” enter the Democratic presidential primary race.

Todd asked if Phillips had Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) or Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) in mind, to which Phillips said he thinks they “would be great,” also suggesting Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D).

“Joe Biden right now is down 7 points in the four swing states [that] will decide the next election,” Phillips said. “He has historically low approval numbers, Chuck. About 55 percent of Democrats would like to see an alternative.”

Phillips pushed back on the suggestion his sentiment on Biden’s reelection has something to do with the president’s age. When asked, he said, “No, this is how the people feel.”

Phillips, while maintaining that he does not think the president is corrupt, also pointed to the investigation into his son, Hunter Biden, and how that will impact his image. 

“This is the important part, it’s the image. It’s what news will do. We know what era we live in — in partisanship. It is the attachment to the president.” 

While not promising a White House bid himself, Phillips said he will “encourage” other Democrats to run against the president. 

Todd asked Phillips if he had spoken with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who has stoked speculation of a third-party bid with No Labels, a centrist group that plans to push a “unity ticket” in the 2024 election. Last week, Manchin said he is “thinking seriously” about leaving the Democratic Party and declaring himself an independent. 

“I want anybody who wants to run — Joe Manchin, Cornel West, any of the governors,” Phillips said, without specifying if he had spoken with Manchin directly.

“That’s why we have primaries, because that doesn’t undermine the likelihood of returning, in this case, a Democrat to the White House,” Phillips continued. “So that is the key. Enter the primary, my friends. Everybody who is on the bench, meet the moment. Don’t wait five years. We need you now.”

Tags 2024 Democratic presidential primary 2024 presidential election Chuck Todd Dean Phillips Donald Trump Gretchen Whitmer Hunter Biden J.B. Pritzker Joe Biden Joe Manchin Tim Walz Tony Evers