Jon Stewart Blasts Joe Biden Spin, Suggests a New Path Forward 5

Jon Stewart criticized Joe Biden and the White House’s response to ongoing concerns about the president’s mental fitness and candidacy.

Returning to The Daily Show on Monday night, Stewart played clips of Biden struggling with his words while trying to reassure voters in the wake of his disastrous debate performance on June 27, and showed clips of his supporters giving an array of excuses (some since debunked) to explain the president’s performance.

“For a campaign based on honesty and decency, the spin about the debate appears to be blatant bullshit, and the redemption tour hasn’t gone that much better,” Stewart said. “We’re told that the threat of Trump is so great and the stakes are so high that even bringing up these absolutely legitimate concerns about the President’s ability to do the most vigorous job in the world for the next four years is enabling fascism. Yet even the president doesn’t seem particularly alarmed.”

Stewart then showed a clip of ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos asking Biden how he’ll feel if he stays in the race and Donald Trump wins in November. The president replied, “As long as I gave it my all and did as good of a job as I know I can do, that’s what this is about.”

“That’s not what this is about!” Stewart yelled. “There are no participation trophies in end game democracy.”

Stewart noted that some Biden supporters say that everybody should back the candidate because millions voted for him in the primary. The host pointed out that it was before the debate dramatically changed voter perceptions of Biden’s health.

“Authoritarianism and Donald Trump aren’t the only threats our democracy faces,” he said. “An arthritic status quo, unable or unwilling to respond in any way to the concerns of voters who just received new and urgent information about their candidate also erodes confidence and faith in the system of government borders. Honestly, ‘get on board or shut the fuck up’ is not a particularly compelling pro-democracy bumper sticker.”

That said, Stewart made it clear he wasn’t calling for Biden to drop out. Yet he did suggest a path forward that involved an open convention in Chicago where challengers could go up against Biden and compete for delegates.

“I am in no way saying Biden’s got to drop out,” he said, “But can we stress test this candidacy? Can we open up the conversation? Do you understand the opportunity here? Do you have any idea how thirsty Americans are for any hint of inspiration or leadership, and a release from this choice of a megalomaniac and a suffocating gerontocracy? … [At the convention] anybody who wants to [could] give their sales pitch of how they can make democracy more responsive to the people it is supposed to serve … The winner could move on to the next round and face Biden … [or] feel free to ignore any obvious weaknesses in your team’s existential fight for freedom and democracy and then just white-knuckle this thing till November.”

Stewart concluded by playing a clip of Biden being asked at a press conference if any other Democrat could win against Trump and the president quipping, “Only 50 of them.”

The show marks Stewart’s first Daily Show appearance since his live show that ran directly after Biden’s debate performance last month.

Earlier Monday, Biden pushed back against the rising tide of Democrats calling for him to drop out of the presidential race by writing a forcefully worded letter telling Congress to rally to his side. Biden suggested that any further dissent will only hurt the party’s chances of defeating Donald Trump in November.

“I want you to know that despite all the speculation in the press and elsewhere, I am firmly committed to staying in this race, to running this race to the end, and to beating Donald Trump,” Biden wrote in the letter. “The question of how to move forward has been well-aired for over a week now. And it’s time for it to end. We have one job. And that is to beat Donald Trump. We have 42 days to the Democratic Convention and 119 days to the general election. Any weakening of resolve or lack of clarity about the task ahead only helps Trump and hurts us. It is time to come together, move forward as a unified party, and defeat Donald Trump.”

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