Katie Porter: White House has 'clearly fumbled' response to debate

california mueller vakil 030424 APfile DamianDovarganes

Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) on Wednesday said the White House “clearly fumbled” its response to the fallout from President Biden’s shaky debate performance, as a growing number of Democrats express concerns with their nominee’s ability to carry out another term.

“They [the White House] clearly fumbled this and I think that we have to be honest about that,” Porter said on CNN Wednesday. “I think there are as many, for me, as many questions about President Biden’s advisors, both those who did the debate prep and those who are continuing to give him advice, as there are for me about President Biden himself because of course, we all want our president to be surrounded by people who are going to help him win.”

“And I think that what we’ve seen in the last week or six days, is probably not the course correction that we need,” she added.

The California lawmaker is the latest in her party to express frustrations over Biden’s White House, reelection campaign and allies, who they argue are not taking concerns seriously after the debate.

Biden’s lackluster showing at the first presidential debate against former President Trump last week sparked a flurry of concerns from Democrats over his ability to beat his GOP rival and effectively lead the nation or the next four years.

CNN anchor Jake Tapper then asked Porter which decisions the White House made in its response that she agrees with, noting how Biden has not done something like a “two-hour press conference” to reassure supporters.

“Well, I think we don’t know the answer to that, Jake,” Porter said. “So what I think the problem is — for all we know, the president is fully capable of doing these things. It’s a good idea, he’s being told that it’s not a good idea, but I think the most important thing is that he needs to get out there and earn the trust of the American people.”

When pressed again by Tapper if he is capable of giving an hour and a half press conference, Porter sidestepped the question.

“Like most Americans, I actually don’t have that information” she said, adding she has not personally seen the president since about a year ago when he deviated from a speech “successfully.”

“So I think I’m situated, and most Democratic leaders are situated in the same way the American people are, which is, ‘give us that reassurance, give us that confidence,'” she added. “And to do that, this campaign is going to have to—this White House is going to have to be way less insular that they have been.”

Porter suggested a shift in direction may include a change of advisors or change in campaign strategy.

In the wake of calls to withdraw from the 2024 race, Biden, alongside Vice President Harris, joined a call with their reelection campaign staff Wednesday, during which he emphasized he will stay on the top of the ticket.

Porter’s arguments echo that of some party operatives who argued this week aides have mismanaged Biden in a variety of areas, from communications to events to the president’s public and personal interactions. They told The Hill aides seeking to control the narrative around Biden have shielded him from big moments, including sit-down interviews and off-the-cuff interactions.

The Hill reached out to the White House for comment.

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