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Screen Shot 2024-07-08 at 10.49.42 AMPresident Joe Biden challenged unhappy Democrats to try to take him out at the party’s August convention during a phone call with his favorite talk show, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Calling in to “Morning Joe” on Friday just moments after sending a letter to congressional Democrats, Biden assured the hosts that he was not dropping out of the 2024 presidential race despite all the calls within his party for him to do so. If Democrats want him out, the president said on the phone, they should challenge him at the party’s convention, head-to-head.

“Here’s the deal. [A red wave is] not going to happen here this time around. The American public is not going to move away from me as an average voter. Again, I’m here for two reasons, pal. One, to rebuild the economy for hard-working middle class people to give everybody a shot, a straight shot. Everybody gets a fair chance, number one. Number two, remember about all this talk about how I don’t have the black support? Come on. Give me a break. Come with me. Watch. Watch,” Biden said, expressing confidence that he would beat former President Donald Trump in November.

“I’m getting frustrated by the elites – not 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,” the president added. 

The president spent a chunk of the phone call touting his campaign movement, noting that he has made several public appearances in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania while his challenger has not. In one instance, while trying to make a point about Trump’s track record, papers can be heard shuffling as the president tells the hosts that he is “reading from a list of lies.”

The calls for Biden to drop out of the presidential race come amid concern for his fitness for office. His decline became apparent to his allies during a debate against Trump in which he frequently looked confused, stared with his mouth agape and stumbled through answers.

Biden and White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre have taken questions about the 81-year-old’s health, with the spokeswoman even being asked once if the president had dementia.

“Does President Biden at 81-years-old have Alzheimer’s, any form of dementia or degenerative illness that would call these sorts of lapses?” a reporter asked during the first press briefing following the disastrous debate.)

“I have an answer. Are you ready for it? It’s a no. And I hope you’re asking the other guy the same exact question,” Jean-Pierre snapped back.

The president fielded a similar question during his “Morning Joe” appearance.

“Have you been tested for any age-related illnesses, pre-Parkinson’s or anything like that, that might explain having a night like that where you couldn’t finish sentences?” host Mika Brzezinski asked the president.

“Look, I had before — I was feeling so badly before the debate,” Biden said after laughing at Brzezinski question.

“When I came back — they tested me for, I thought maybe I had COVID. Maybe there was something wrong. Maybe I had an infection or something. They tested me. They gave me those tests. I was clear. Look, I had a bad night, but the fact of the matter is look what I’ve done — let me put it this way. If there was something that was wrong that night [inaudible.] That’s one night and it goes away. That’s why I’ve been out. I’ve been testing myself, testing everywhere I go. Going out and making the case. The night of that debate I went out. I was out until 2 o’clock in the morning that very night, that very night. It drives me nuts, people talking about this,” the president finished.

Biden also tried to quell concerns about his age and pacify calls for his removal with a primetime ABC News interview Friday. But in the interview, the president continuously denied truths — dismissing polling numbers, his approval rating and calls for his removal.

“Mr. President, I’ve never seen a president of 36% approval get re-elected,” ABC host George Stephanopoulos told Biden.

“Well, I don’t believe that’s my approval rating – that’s not what our polls show,” the president responded.

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