Nancy Pelosi stops short of saying Biden should stay in the race, says ‘time is running short’ for him to decide

WASHINGTON — Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., held back Wednesday from a full-throated endorsement of President Joe Biden’s staying in the 2024 race, saying it’s up to him whether to run but warning the clock is ticking.

“It’s up to the president to decide if he is going to run. We’re all encouraging him to make that decision, because time is running short,” Pelosi said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” when she was asked whether Biden had her support to be the head of the Democratic ticket.

Pelosi indicated that she couldn’t say whether Biden has the overwhelming support of congressional Democrats, especially because she’s not in a leadership role anymore.

“But he’s beloved, he is respected, and people want him to make that decision. Not me,” she said.

Asked whether she wants him to run, Pelosi said: “I want him to do whatever he decides to do, and that’s — that’s the way it is. Whatever he decides, we go with.”

In a statement later Wednesday, Pelosi spokesman Ian Kragar reiterated, “Speaker Pelosi fully supports whatever President Biden decides to do. We must turn our attention to why this race is so important: Donald Trump would be a disaster for our country and our democracy.”

Pelosi’s remarks in the interview, however, are highly notable, as she remains a prominent member of the Democratic caucus, as speaker emerita, whose rank and file still look to her for guidance.

A House Democrat said Pelosi’s of comments, which have continued to feed the frenzy around Biden, “Everything she does is intentional.”

Pelosi suggested that she has told her Democratic colleagues to “hold off” on stating their opinions publicly about Biden’s staying in the race.

“I’ve said everyone, let’s just hold off, whatever you’re thinking, either tell somebody privately, but you don’t have to put that out on the table until we see how we go this week,” she said.

In response to Pelosi, a campaign official pointed to the letter Biden sent to Democratic lawmakers Monday saying he’s “firmly committed to staying in this race, to running this race to the end, and to beating Donald Trump.”

The official also cited Pelosi’s comment to a reporter Tuesday that “I’ve always been committed to him.” In the same exchange, when she was asked whether Biden is the best person for the ticket, Pelosi also said: “I’m not making any statement right now here in the hall. When I’m ready to make a statement, I will.”

While Democratic leaders, including House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, both of New York, reiterated their support for Biden as the nominee this week, many other Democrats have been silent. At least nine House Democrats have publicly called on Biden to withdraw from the race. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado on Tuesday became the first Senate Democrat to publicly say he doesn’t think Biden can beat Trump.

Last week, Pelosi also said in an interview on MSNBC that it was a “legitimate question” whether Biden’s performance at the debate was a “condition” or just an “episode.”

Biden and the White House have dismissed the idea that he has any major health conditions that affected him that night, and Biden has emphatically said he’s staying in the race.

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