Business, civic leaders urge Biden to step aside -W.Post

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A group of business and civic leaders urged U.S. President Joe Biden to end his reelection bid in a letter to the White House on Friday, a day after its CEO said members would still back him if he continued to run, the Washington Post reported.

The Post said the letter, signed by 168 members of Leadership Now Project, called on Biden to cement his legacy by stepping aside to allow for another nominee amid “the threats posed by a second term of Donald Trump,” his Republican challenger.

The 81-year-old Democratic president on Friday said he can still beat Trump, 78, in the Nov. 5 U.S. presidential election, as he seeks to move on from his shaky debate performance last week, including a closely watched television interview set to air later on Friday.

The moves are aimed at showing Americans he still has the stamina to run against Trump even as some Democrats want to open a path for his 59-year-old vice president, Kamala Harris, to take on the Republican, who repeatedly made false statements during the debate.

The Leadership Now Project’s Friday letter as reported praised Biden’s decades of public service but cited profound risks to U.S. and global stability in this year’s election.

“We respectfully urge you to withdraw from being a candidate for reelection for the sake of our democracy and the future of our nation,” wrote the signatories, who include Weyco GroupCEO Tom Florsheim, billionaire investor Mike Novogratz, and Christy Walton, the billionaire daughter-in-law of Walmart’s founder, the Post said.

On Thursday, the group’s chief executive Daniella Ballou-Aares told CNN she expected members would continue to support Biden if he remains in the race, according to the Post.

Representatives for the group and the Biden campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

(Reporting by Heather Timmons and Susan Heavey; Additional reporting by Stephanie Kelly; Editing by Caitlin Webber)


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