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Pritzker ‘all in’ for Biden following visit to White House last week

Gov. JB Pritzker tells reporters he is “all in” for President Joe Biden at an unrelated news conference in Chicago on Tuesday.Gov.
Jerry Nowicki
Gov. JB Pritzker tells reporters he is “all in” for President Joe Biden at an unrelated news conference in Chicago on Tuesday.Gov.

Gov. JB Pritzker said Tuesday he is “all in” for President Joe Biden after visiting the White House last week with other Democratic governors.

He headed to Washington, D.C., to meet with the president and members of the Democratic Governors Association last Wednesday on the heels of Biden’s performance during the first of two scheduled debates with former President Donald Trump, which raised concerns about the president’s mental acuity.

The governors were seeking reassurances of Biden’s viability as a candidate following the June 27 debate performance.

On Tuesday, Pritzker said the exchange between Biden and the Democratic governors was “a robust discussion” – and he’s “all in” for Biden.

“Listen: Joe Biden is our nominee. I am for Joe Biden. I've been campaigning for Joe Biden. I think you've seen I've got dates scheduled to go to Indiana, to Ohio for Joe Biden,” he said at an unrelated event Tuesday.

Read more: Pritzker to meet with Biden, Dem governors concerned about president’s campaign

Pritzker, who is frequently named as a potential Biden replacement should the campaign reach that point, will speak at the Indiana Democratic Party’s Hoosier Hospitality Dinner in Indianapolis on Friday before heading at the Ohio Democratic Party’s Family Reunion in Columbus on Saturday.

And he said he wouldn’t engage in “hypotheticals” when asked if he’d be interested in replacing Biden should he drop out of the race.

“What we're doing is talking about why it's important to reelect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and why it's important to defeat Donald Trump, who's trying to take away your freedoms, who's trying to send jobs overseas, and frankly, would be bad for the economy and bad for working families,” Pritzker said.

Pritzker said “it's not unreasonable” for opinions to differ on the president’s performance and political chances following the debate.

“There were questions of the president. He answered those questions. You know, some people came away with different impressions, maybe,” Pritzker said of Biden’s meeting with the governors.

But despite some members of Congress calling for Biden to step aside – including U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley of Chicago – Pritzker said he believes Democrats are united in their efforts to defeat Trump.

He added that his advice to Biden was to “go out there and answer all the questions,” and to “show people that he is the leader of the free world.”

“I think that, obviously, the president had a bad performance at a debate – that doesn't help anybody. He knows that,” Pritzker said. “And what you have to do is stand up, say ‘I didn't do it well,’ which I think he’s said, and prove people wrong about what they want to say about him. And he's doing that.”

It was a similar comment to one he made in a CNN interview last week in which he suggested Biden do more public appearances to turn the tide following the debate.

The Democratic National Convention is scheduled for Aug. 19-22 in Chicago, but Democrats plan to nominate Biden prior to that date virtually – a move that is needed to ensure he can appear on the Ohio ballot.

When asked about the possibility of the DNC convention being “brokered” for another candidate, Pritzker said: “I don't expect that to happen. We're going to have an orderly convention.”

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government. It is distributed to hundreds of newspapers, radio and TV stations statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, along with major contributions from the Illinois Broadcasters Foundation and Southern Illinois Editorial Association.

Jerry Nowicki is bureau chief of Capitol News Illinois and has been with the organization since its inception in 2019.