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Biden slams Dem critics as ‘elites’ during surprise ‘Morning Joe’ interview

President Joe Biden slammed his critics as “elites” in a live interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Monday, daring any challengers to run against him as he doubled down on his vow to stay in the race.

“I’m getting so frustrated by the elites — now I’m not talking about you guys — the elites in the party, ‘Oh, they know so much more.’ Any of these guys that don’t think I should run, run against me. Announce for president, challenge me at the convention,” Biden told hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.

During the audio-only interview, Biden shot down Brzezinski’s description of him as the presumptive Democratic nominee. “I’m more than the presumptive, I’m going to be the Democratic nominee,” Biden said, laughing.

The surprise appearance is part of an effort from the Biden campaign to combat growing calls from party leaders that the president withdraw his candidacy. It followed a weekend of campaign travel and Biden’s interview with ABC News on Friday. The president will also be under a microscope this week, with the NATO summit in Washington, a Thursday news conference and more campaign travel at the end of the week.

Biden is leaning heavily into a strategy he’s turned to in the past: casting his critics as “elites” who aren’t in step with the average Democratic voter.

One of the primary reasons Biden has been visiting stops around the country was to “make sure my instinct was right about the party still wanting me to be the nominee,” he said. Biden boasted about his “large” and “enthusiastic” crowds and made a jab at criticism that he relies on a teleprompter, saying “I did it all extemporaneously.”

“I’m not getting any of what I was told. I wanted to make sure I was right, that the average voter out there still wanted Joe Biden,” he said. “And I’m confident they do.”

Biden appeared on “Morning Joe” shortly after sending a letter to Hill Democrats on Monday that firmly stated his commitment to staying in the race, in a bid to shut down more intraparty calls for him to step aside.

He reiterated his belief that he is the best candidate to beat former President Donald Trump in November, who he said “hasn’t done a damned thing since the debate” and is “riding around in his golf cart.”

Four senior Democrats on Sunday said in a private call with House leadership that Biden should step down. Many lawmakers have privately expressed concerns about Biden’s age and viability since his disastrous debate performance last month, and the number of Democrats publicly calling on the president to withdraw is expected to grow from the five who have said so in the days ahead.

“They’re big names, but I don’t care what those big names think. They were wrong in 2020. They were wrong in 2022 about the red wave. They were wrong in 2024,” Biden said, responding to a question about prominent figures who have called on him to step aside. “Come out with me and watch people react.”