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After White House meeting, Beshear says Biden needs to ‘reassure the American people’

Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear speaks at a press conference on July 5, 2024 on a recent tornado in Louisville before addressing his recent meeting with President Joe Biden a couple days before.
Sylvia Goodman
Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear speaks at a press conference on July 5, 2024 on a recent tornado in Louisville before addressing his recent meeting with President Joe Biden a couple days before.

Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear said President Joe Biden was “in control of the room” during a meeting with a group of Democratic governors Wednesday night. Beshear’s name has come up in discussions as pressure for Biden to step off the ticket mounts.

Gov. Andy Beshear was one of more than 20 Democratic governors to meet with President Joe Biden Wednesday night, and one of a handful to attend the event in person at the White House.

Beshear said Friday that, while he would not divulge the specifics of the “private meeting,” Biden commanded the room and answered all of their questions.

“But it's not about me, it's about the American people,” Beshear said. “This is the President of the United States. So my hope is he'll come forward, and he'll just do what he has done throughout his career. He'll talk plainly and directly to the American people about his health.”

Beshear said he believed the president “took a hit” during the debate with former President Donald Trump last week. Biden’s performance has been generally panned and led some political strategists and mega donors to ask if Biden has the physical and cognitive ability to lead for another term.

Beshear remained firm that Biden is his candidate until the president says otherwise.

“He asked for really candid advice and responded to it,” Beshear said. “This is something that he needs to not just reassure Democratic governors on, but he needs to reassure the American people.”

The meeting with Democratic governors was an attempt to shore up support within the party, as some have already begun to defect.

Many have turned to the obvious next choice, Vice President Kamala Harris. Some Democratic governors have also entered the spotlight — as potential running mates or presidential candidates in their own right — like Michigan’s Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, California’s Gov. Gavin Newson, and even Beshear.

Beshear chuckled at the question of whether he would consider a vice presidential or presidential bid. He said he took it as a compliment to Kentucky rather than himself. But Beshear did not fully rule out running for higher office.

“I plan on continuing to be governor of the commonwealth of Kentucky, I'm not going to speculate on this, ‘Is he running or is he not?’ Because he says he's running,” Beshear said. “The only way I would ever consider anything other than this job, which I love, is if I felt that I could help this commonwealth in special and important ways.”

Biden has remained publicly adamant that he intends to continue his candidacy. Biden’s campaign has blamed his poor performance at the debate to a cold, jet lag and too much preparation.

Sylvia is the Capitol reporter for Kentucky Public Radio, a collaboration including Louisville Public Media, WEKU-Lexington, WKU Public Radio and WKMS-Murray. Email her at sgoodman@lpm.org.

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