Since President Joe Biden struggled in his first debate with former President Donald Trump on June 27, sparking an ongoing and often heated national conversation about whether Biden should continue seeking reelection, several members of Massachusetts’ all-Democratic congressional delegation have weighed in on that topic. So have other local Democrats of note, including Gov. Maura Healey and Boston Mayor Michelle Wu. Characterizing their stances isn’t as easy as it might seem, though, because while some of the statements made have been unequivocal, others are more ambiguous in terms of tone and what they’re suggesting could happen next.

The following summary, which describes who’s said what and how they’ve said it, will be updated to reflect any new statements or shifts in position.

Biden should drop out, full stop

Only one member of the Massachusetts delegation has unequivocally called on Biden to exit the race: U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, who said on July 4 that Biden should emulate George Washington and “step aside to let new leaders rise up and run against Donald Trump.” He reiterated his stance during an appearance on Boston Public Radio on July 12, saying Biden is currently “on a pathway to losing.” Moulton added: “He always talks about how he deserves to be president again because of all the things that he’s done so far — which he has been a remarkably accomplished president. But this is about people making a judgment for what he can do in the next four years.”

Also urging Biden to stop running: Massachusetts state Sen. Jason Lewis, who made his call the day after the debate.

Biden should think carefully about whether he can do this

Last week, U.S. Rep. Jake Auchincloss told GBH News that Biden should engage in a searching examination of whether he’s the Democrat best situated to beat Trump in November, and added that, if the election were held now, he expects that Biden would lose. In addition, Auchincloss said that if Biden keeps running, he should treat campaigning as a “team sport” and give prominent roles to several younger Democrats.

Also last week, Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey, who has been a Biden campaign surrogate, became the first Democratic governor to suggest that Biden weigh exiting the race, saying in a statement that he should “listen to the American people and carefully evaluate” whether to continue running.

Biden needs to prove he’s up to the challenge

Today, U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan told GBH News that she shares the concerns of voters who’ve expressed doubt about Biden’s ability to beat Trump. “While President Biden has made clear he feels he is the best candidate to win this election, nothing that has happened over the past twelve days suggests that voters see things the same way,” Trahan said, adding that Biden “must act with urgency to restore Americans’ confidence so we win in November.” Trahan did not say how quickly Biden needs to accomplish that or what should happen if he doesn’t.

It’s his call / he’s our guy / Trump is terrible

U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley began a statement to GBH News by saying, “President Biden has made it clear that he intends to stay in the race.” She added: “Above all, I’m confident in the necessity of a Democratic White House and Administration. This is the most consequential election in our nation’s history.” Pressley’s statement included a scathing condemnation of Donald Trump, but did not explicitly discuss Biden’s strengths or record.

U.S. Sen. Ed Markey focused on Biden’s agency, too, telling the Boston Globe that the question of whether to keep running “is a discussion and a decision for President Biden and his family,” and that, at the moment, “President Biden and Democrats are delivering for the American people.”

U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch struck a similar note in a statement to GBH News, saying the decision “is entirely up to the president” and that, if Biden “is committed to answering the bell for this one last campaign, then I will be in his corner.”

On GBH’s Boston Public Radio, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu used comparably contingent language, saying of Biden that, “If he’s the nominee, I’m going to be backing him.” She also acknowledged that the debate was “painful to watch,” but also said she’s worked closely with the Biden administration for years and that that partnership has been hugely beneficial to Boston.

U.S. Rep. and Democratic Whip Katherine Clark reportedly said Wednesday that “President Biden is the nominee,” and added: “There is just no light between our caucus and the work we have done with this administration and the work that we will do in the future.” However, Clark then seemed to suggest that Biden might change his mind about running in the future, saying: “As always, the decision is up to the president.”

Biden is a good candidate

No Massachusetts politician has been more effusive in their praise of Biden than U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, who tweeted that the president is a “visionary leader” who’s “deliver[ed] results beyond imagination.”

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren also praised Biden in remarks to the Boston Globe, saying, “President Biden is our nominee. He is an excellent president. He works hard on behalf of working families every day.”

Still haven’t weighed in on whether Biden should keep running

U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern and U.S. Rep. Bill Keating have not responded to inquiries from GBH News and seem not to have commented elsewhere.

Updated: July 10, 2024
This story was updated to include comments from U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark.