Biden tells Democratic governors he needs more sleep, plans to stop scheduling events after 8 p.m.


President Joe Biden told Democratic governors at a White House meeting on Wednesday that part of his plan is to stop scheduling events after 8 p.m. so he can get more sleep, three sources with knowledge of his comments said.

The comments, first reported by The New York Times, came as Biden, 81, sought to reassure a group of more than 20 state leaders about his ability to defeat former President Donald Trump in November and govern effectively for another four years.

01:37 – Source: CNN

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According to CNN, Biden’s comment left several governors in the room frustrated, one reason some attendees are irritated by the show of loyalty and enthusiasm Biden’s campaign displayed on Thursday.

The White House did not immediately comment on what the president said. A Biden campaign official argued that in addition to preparing for debates in the week after his two trips to Europe, Biden also spent hours doing official work in addition to campaign hours.

“President (George W.) Bush went to bed at 9, and President (Barack) Obama made dinner at 6:30,” Biden campaign spokesman Kevin Munoz said. “Normal presidents strike a balance, and Joe Biden is no exception. It’s not nearly the same severity as Donald Trump, who spends half his day on Truth Social ranting about plans to cause a recession and the other half playing golf.”

Biden also made a joke to the governors that didn’t go over well: “I feel fine, but I don’t know about my brain.” Jen O’Malley Dillon, Biden’s campaign manager, said the president “was clearly joking and then said, ‘Just kidding.'”

After Biden’s poor performance during last week’s CNN presidential debate, some Democrats have begun calling for the president to drop out of the race, leaving the White House scrambling to win over party skeptics and voters alike. In the days since, administration officials have offered confusing and contradictory explanations in an attempt to spin a performance that has exacerbated voter concerns about Biden’s age.

Biden himself indicated on Thursday that he wants to stay in the race, telling military personnel and their families that he would stay on.

An attendee at the Fourth of July barbecue at the White House told the president, “We need you.”

“You got me,” the president replied, before the attendee shouted again.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Biden repeated.

After the meeting on Wednesday, Governors Wes Moore of Maryland, Kathy Hochul of New York and Tim Walz of Minnesota painted a positive picture of the meeting during a press conference, adding that Biden is “all in” and “doing everything he can to win.”

In response to a reporter’s question, Walz dismissed concerns about Biden’s age and health, saying the president is “fit for office.”

While campaigning for Biden in South Haven, Michigan, California Governor Gavin Newsom — who attended the rally in person — told CNN that Biden’s acknowledgement of his fatigue shows he is “human” and said he thought people were making too much of the comment.

“Look at his schedule, look at the fundraising stuff that you don’t see. All that work, the work that you do behind the scenes, the phone calls that you make at all hours of the night. Alliance management, everything he’s doing to get ready for NATO this week, what they’re doing to make a deal with Hamas and Israel,” Newsom said.

Biden, the oldest president in U.S. history, has faced questions about his age and health for years. They reached a fever pitch during the debate, when he sounded hoarse and at times inarticulate, making Trump — who is only three years younger than Biden — appear fitter. A majority of debate viewers saw the former president as the winner of the stalemate, according to a CNN poll.

Biden’s performance at the debate opened the door to more attention and reporting on the president’s health, with sources reporting that his mental health was deteriorating.

The New York Times reported earlier this week that the president’s “missteps” have increased and become increasingly troubling. A source told the Times that Biden’s preparations for the six days of debates at Camp David didn’t begin until 11 a.m. and that the president was given time each day to nap.

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre dodged a question during Wednesday’s briefing about whether the president takes a daily afternoon nap after the Times’ reporting. But she offered jet lag and travel fatigue as explanations for Biden’s poor debate performance, after previously attributing it to a cold.

As pressure mounts to withdraw from the race and concerns grow over whether he can serve another term, CNN previously reported that Biden has privately indicated that the coming days will be crucial to whether he can save his re-election.

This story has been updated with additional details.

CNN’s Kaanita Iyer, Aaron Pellish, Samantha Waldenberg, Jack Forrest, MJ Lee and Betsy Klein contributed to this report.

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