Biden expected to hold call with Democratic governors as concerns mount following the debate

President Joe Biden is planning to hold a video call with Democratic governors, likely on Wednesday, as he attempts to tamp down growing concerns about his ability to serve a second term following a devastating debate performance last week.

The details of that call are still being hashed out, according to three sources familiar with planning. One of the sources, a person with Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s campaign, said they had received communication about a call likely happening on Wednesday.

The Biden campaign declined to comment.

The potential call comes a day after Democratic governors huddled by phone, according to two Democratic sources, to discuss the path party’s path forward after the debate. The call with governors Monday afternoon, organized by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, involved no staff members or White House or Biden campaign staff. Pritzker, who was critical to landing the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, was on the call, too.

The governors expressed their concerns following the president’s poor debate performance.

“There isn’t a strategy someone is suggesting and there’s a concern about what’s coming next. What’s the president going to do to counter the impression left by the debate?” one of the sources said.

The source said everyone on the call is still supporting the Biden campaign.

“What everybody needs is reassurance. No one said we need to go another direction,” this person said.

In Monday’s call, the governors suggested to Walz that they would like to have a call with Biden, which ultimately is what led to Wednesday’s expected call.

“Democratic governors are some of the President and Vice President’s most proactive and vocal supporters because they’ve seen how the Biden-Harris Administration’s accomplishments are directly benefiting their residents,” another person familiar with the Monday call with governors said in a statement. “The Biden/Harris team is in constant communication with the governors and their teams, including about yesterday’s meeting.”

Separately, White House chief of staff Jeff Zients will hold an all-staff call on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. ET, according to a source familiar with the planning. Zients is expected to tell staff to “weather the storm” and “keep your heads down.”

The call will include more junior staffers, some of whom have indicated frustration that no one is telling them anything. It is meant to amplify the message that Zients delivered to senior staff — a much smaller group of about 40 — on Friday, when both he and Biden senior adviser Anita Dunn acknowledged the previous night’s debate and said that there would “always be challenging days.”

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