Biden's family is encouraging him to stay in the race as they discuss whether top advisers should be fired


Joe Biden's family on Sunday encouraged the president to stay in the 2024 race and privately discussed whether his top aides should be fired after Biden's abysmal debate performance has thrown his campaign into turmoil.

Biden's family, including first lady Jill Biden, son Hunter Biden and his grandchildren, gathered at Camp David for a previously scheduled meeting to urge the president to run for re-election, Biden advisers told CNN. One adviser said family members have offered their “full support.”

The family — which was apparently frustrated with the team that prepared President Biden ahead of his dangerous debate with former President Donald Trump — discussed whether any of Biden’s top advisers should be fired and whether changes should be made to the campaign staff, one adviser said.

However, Biden is known to be loyal to and protective of his closest advisers and does not like to fire aides. As of Sunday, it did not look like any major staff changes were imminent.

The praise and support Biden's family showed for the president on Sunday mirrors the first lady's increasingly public praise for her husband in recent days.

The presidential family gathering comes as Biden and his campaign face continued calls to oust the president following Thursday's CNN presidential debate. One of the advisers said the discussion also focused on how Biden family members could help the president, not on whether he should reconsider his candidacy.

Advisers said Biden is eagerly collecting data – anecdotal evidence and public surveys – but is awaiting the Democratic campaign's extensive surveys and research this week, anticipating an expected drop in support in battleground states. Advisers blamed harsh media coverage for any drop, rather than Biden's own performance.

With the shock of the CNN debate still reverberating among many, the president and those close to him are in the early stages of understanding the immediate fallout. The family's view — that Biden should keep fighting — could change in the coming days if the fallout continues and if the president becomes convinced that dropping out of the race will keep Democrats from sliding this fall.

The opinions of Biden's family will be crucial in determining his political future — even more so than those of the president's famously aloof inner circle of top advisers.

Those advisers are now under intense scrutiny, with party insiders openly questioning how they allowed the president to take the stage to face Donald Trump last week despite knowing what he should have known. Biden's team spent nearly an entire week at Camp David preparing the president for any scenario that might unfold inside CNN's studios in Atlanta.

Biden and his family gathered Sunday for a long-planned photo shoot with famed photographer Annie Leibovitz. Senior advisers stressed to CNN on Saturday that the purpose of the meeting was not to discuss whether the president will stay in the race.

Resentment against some of Biden's key staff members has begun to surface publicly. Florida lawyer John Morgan, one of the Democratic Party's most prolific and prominent donors, took aim at senior adviser Anita Dunn and her husband, Bob Bauer, who is Biden's personal attorney.

“Biden has been fooled by the importance of Anita Dunn and her husband for too long. They should leave today,” Morgan wrote on X on Sunday.

The White House declined to comment on Morgan's post.

This story and headline have been updated with additional information.

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