Massachusetts Congressmen Jake Auchincloss and Seth Moulton are joining the growing list of Democrats voicing public concern about President Joe Biden’s re-election bid.

“[Biden] needs to consult with fellow elected officials and with public opinion research to determine if he is the strongest candidate to defeat Donald Trump in November, which is the unifying imperative for the Democratic Party,” Auchincloss told GBH News.

Asked if he expects that Biden would choose to remain in the race after analyzing his prospects, Auchincloss replied, “I don’t know.”

He added: “We have to be candid and introspective as a party that were the election held today, Donald Trump would likely beat Joe Biden, and that’s an unacceptable result.”

Auchincloss’s fellow Massachusetts Democrat, Congressman Seth Moulton, struck a similar note in a statement Wednesday, saying he has “grave concerns” about Biden’s ability to defeat Trump.

While Moulton stopped short of explicitly calling on Biden to drop out, he did say that “the status quo will likely deliver us President Trump,” and added: “When your current strategy isn’t working, it’s rarely the right decision to double down. President Biden is not going to get younger.

“Since Thursday night, I have been having nonstop, tough, honest conversations with colleagues and other Democrats,” Moulton added. “I’m taking time to seriously consider the best strategy for Democrats to win. ... We should have all viable options on the table.”

On Thursday, Moulton went a step further, saying on WBUR “President Biden has done enormous service to our country, but now is the time for him to follow in one of our founding father, George Washington’s footsteps and step aside to let new leaders rise up and run against Donald Trump.”

Auchicloss said that, if Biden does decide he is the Democrat best equipped to beat Trump, he should give younger political allies a prominent campaign role as he seeks to retain the presidency.

“If he believes that he is — and that’s his decision to make, because he won the Democratic [primaries] and the delegates are bound to him and that is the democratic process that we are going to respect — I would encourage him to make campaigning a team sport, and to build the bridge that he promised for the next generation,” Auchincloss said.

“Platform people like [Vice President] Kamala Harris, to draw a sharp contrast with the Democratic Party against Donald Trump’s attacks on the rule of law and reproductive rights,” he added. “Put forth people like [Transportation Secretary] Pete Buttigieg to talk about infrastructure and the economy, [Commerce Secretary] Gina Raimondo to talk about the economy and manufacturing.

“Democrats have a lot of stars in the cabinet, and I think the president is going to need to campaign with and through them to be an effective messenger and to defeat Donald Trump.”

In 2020, Biden described himself as a “bridge” to a new generation of Democratic leaders while campaigning in Michigan, a characterization many took as evidence that Biden planned to serve just one term if elected.

Biden’s weak performance in the first presidential debate sparked a wide-ranging, occasionally heated conversation about his fitness to serve and ability to win reelection. Biden reportedly told campaign staffers that he was “in this race to the end” in a call Wednesday. But as new polling raises concerns about Biden’s prospects, discussion of the challenges he faces and the mechanics of choosing a replacement if Biden exits the race has grown increasingly open.

On Wednesday afternoon, prior to a meeting with several Democratic governors, Biden sought to dispel doubts once again, writing in a fundraising email, “[L]et me say this as clearly and simply as I can: I’m running.”

Updated: July 04, 2024
This story has been updated to include Moulton's July 4 comments.