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Gov. Polis, in Aspen, focuses on dangers of second Trump term when asked about Biden debate debacle

June 28, 2024, 11:22 am

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, second from left, appears on a panel at the Aspen Ideas Festival on Friday, June 28, 2024 (Chase Woodruff/Colorado Newsline).

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis did not answer directly when asked Friday whether he agreed with a growing chorus of voices in the Democratic Party that say President Joe Biden should withdraw from the 2024 presidential race.

Biden’s demeanor in Thursday’s first presidential debate, during which the president’s answers were raspy and at times confused, reignited widespread concerns among Democrats about his age and his fitness for a bruising reelection battle against former President Donald Trump, who turned in a combative debate performance that relied on repeated falsehoods and conspiracy theories.

In a brief interview following his appearance on a panel at the Aspen Ideas Festival early Friday, Polis was noncommittal when asked about the calls for Biden to step aside, saying that he had “been very critical of Donald Trump’s agenda for the country.”

“I focus on the issues, and I think (Trump’s) tariff plan would be devastating,” Polis, a Democrat, said. “The fact that he still openly talks about retribution is scary and un-American. So I think that that’s an important contrast that we need to drive home to the people of our country.”

Polis was asked by a Newsline reporter whether, given what he and many others view as the high stakes of the 2024 election, Biden was the best messenger for the Democratic Party’s agenda.

“I think it takes all of us as messengers, to really highlight the dangers of a second Trump presidency,” he said before ending the interview.

At least two Colorado Democratic elected officials joined those calling for Biden to step aside in the aftermath of Thursday’s debate. In a social media post, state Rep. David Ortiz of Littleton wrote that Biden’s performance was “really really really bad.”

“We say it’s the most important election of our lifetimes, but if we don’t at least consider another candidate, then do we even mean it?” Ortiz asked.

“We need a new nominee,” wrote state Rep. Javier Mabrey of Denver in another post. “There is far too much on the line in this election. We can’t convincingly make the case to voters that Trump winning is an existential threat to our democracy if we stay on this path.”

Editor’s note: This story first appeared on Colorado Newsline, which is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Colorado Newsline maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Quentin Young for questions: info@coloradonewsline.com. Follow Colorado Newsline on Facebook and X.

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