(USNewsMag.com) – Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota decided to step down from his House leadership role this week, citing fundamental differences between the rest of the party and himself for his position that President Joe Biden should not run for re-election in 2024.
In his announcement on Sunday, Phillips said his “politics” and “official work do not mix” and that “it’s clear” his “convictions” about the election “are incongruent” with his colleagues’ positions and “causing discomfort.” The congressman said he wasn’t “pressured or forced to resign.”
For months, Philips has been adamant that he doesn’t believe Biden should pursue a second term. At one point, rumors were reported that the moderate Democrat was even thinking of running himself. Philips told a CNN host in August that there are “ample” potential challengers to Biden who are “well-prepared, competent people of great character.”
Philips urged colleagues in his party to jump in the race. On NBC, he said he “adores” the president but thinks he should “pass the torch” on to someone else. The exit of Philips comes amid concerns that Biden’s age and mental capacity will hinder his ability to continue serving. Now 80 years old, Biden is the oldest person to serve as president in US history, and if he lasts to the end of a second term, he will be 86 by the time he leaves office.
During a podcast interview last week, Philips was asked if he’s going to challenge Biden for the nomination, to which Philips replied that he was “considering it.” Philips says he hasn’t “ruled it out,” but also thinks there are others “who are more proximate” and “better prepared to campaign” with larger organizations that have “name recognition,” which he says he does “not possess.”
Perhaps breaking ranks with his hardline colleagues will bring Philips more recognition, although it’s more likely to be negative attention from those standing behind Biden, no matter what. Despite this, the move may also endear Philips to more moderates and even some conservatives.
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