Senior Democrat Adam Smith calls for Biden to drop reelection bid

Rep. Adam Smith, ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, publicly said Monday that President Joe Biden should abandon his reelection bid — one day after he made that position clear during a private call with top House Democrats.

“The president’s performance in the debate was alarming to watch and the American people have made it clear they no longer see him as a credible candidate to serve four more years as president,” Smith (D-Wash.) said in a statement. ”Since the debate the president has not seriously addressed these concerns.”

In an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN, Smith said Biden was “not the best person to carry the Democratic message.”

Smith, in his statement, said Biden should drop out “as soon as possible” but that he would back him completely “without reservation” if he pressed ahead with the campaign.

Widely respected in defense and foreign policy circles, the Washington state Democrat broke from the president as world leaders gather in the nation’s capital for the NATO Summit.

Biden had issued a defiant letter earlier Monday indicating he planned to stay in the race. Smith had indicated in a private call with House Democratic leaders on Sunday that he believed Biden should step aside — the letter clearly did not assuage his concerns.

Joe Gould contributed to this report.