Defiant Biden tells donors: ‘We’re done talking about the debate’

A defiant President Joe Biden insisted to his donors on Monday that he is “done talking about the debate” and implored the party to ignore any further distractions and direct its attention back to Donald Trump.

“We need to move forward. Look, we have roughly 40 days til the convention, 120 days til the election. We can’t waste any more time being distracted,” Biden said in a private call with donors Monday, according to a recording obtained by POLITICO.

“I have one job, and that’s to beat Donald Trump. I’m absolutely certain I’m the best person to be able to do that. So, we’re done talking about the debate, it’s time to put Trump in a bullseye,” Biden said.

The forceful message from Biden — which was delivered to hundreds of top Democratic donors and bundlers in the president’s National Finance Committee — is the latest evidence that the president and his allies are working furiously to stem defections in the party. Earlier in the day, Biden sent a fiery missive to congressional Democrats, declaring his intentions to remain in the race even as roughly a half-dozen members have publicly called for him to bow out.

Several donors who participated in the call described Biden as forceful and strong. He took four questions during the meeting, including one about Biden’s plans for the next debate. The president responded that his strategy was to “attack, attack, attack,” according to a person listening to the call.

Biden repeated multiple times that he would not be leaving the race: “I’m telling you, I’m not going anywhere folks. I’m in this to the end, and I’m going to beat Trump. I promise you.”

He touted the “grassroots support” he saw during his 10-day cross-country tour following the debate, from Georgia to Wisconsin to Pennsylvania, and thanked his donors for sticking by his side.

“I appreciate you hanging in there with me. I realize you’re getting a lot of heat,” he said.

Instead of airing public concerns about his campaign, Biden argued the party should be directing its ire at Trump, who he said has “gotten away with doing nothing for the last 10 days except driving around in his golf cart, bragging about scores he doesn’t score.” He said Democrats needed to focus on what Trump would do to abortion rights, Medicare, Social Security, and prescription drug prices.

But there’s still lingering concern and frustration within the high-dollar donor community about Biden’s ability to beat Trump in November.

“I’m hearing from a lot of people who think he should get out, and I’m not getting a whole lot of ‘he should stay in,’” said one donor on the call, granted anonymity to speak candidly. “I’ve also had people tell me, ‘I’m not giving anymore.’”