OAN’s Brooke Mallory
3:40 PM – Thursday, October 26, 2023
According to two individuals familiar with the outreach who spoke to the press, three months ago, as Representative Dean Phillips began openly indicating that he would run for president in 2024, he phoned President Joe Biden to explain why he thinks there should be a competitive primary for the Democrat candidacy.
However, Biden did not answer the phone, according to the insiders.
The White House Chief of Staff, Jeff Zients, informed Phillips (D-Minn.) that Biden was too busy to speak, which summarizes the incumbent’s tactic against any threats to his reelection bid, by being outwardly apathetic.
Biden’s advisers have since expressed a “mild” reaction since Phillips is now anticipated to officially enter the presidential race on Friday by filing to be on the New Hampshire ballot.
The underlying idea is to portray Phillips’ campaign as a “pet project” for one of the richest congressmen. Biden aides have consistently attempted to portray Phillips as a Democrat who has been close to the president and as someone who has not done much to break away from the White House or any of its benefits up until recently.
“We appreciate the congressman’s almost 100% support of this president,” said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
White House spokesman Andrew Bates reiterated this point when questioned about Phillips’ anticipated candidacy.
“When it comes to President Biden’s official work, the administration appreciates that Congressman Phillips has voted for nearly 100% of the president’s legislative agenda,” Bates asserted.
Additionally, in a statement, Bates said that he was legally unable to comment on the presidential election or the “primaries in Minnesota’s 3rd congressional district”—a not-so-subtle reference to Phillips’ increasingly convoluted 2024 reelection campaign for the seat.
Having been elected in the 2018 Democrat wave, Phillips is currently completing his third term in the House. For months, he has advocated for a credible primary challenge against Biden.
He has also cited surveys that indicate a majority of Americans—including Democrats—do not want Biden to run for reelection due to his unpopular ratings. Phillips has brought up the current president’s advanced age as being a possible downfall.
However, he did praise Biden as a “wonderful and remarkable man,” in an August appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” while simultaneously saying that it was time for him to “pass the torch” to a new generation of younger Democrat leadership.
According to polls, Biden and former President Donald Trump appear to be almost deadlocked.
Given his stance on the 2024 election, Phillips resigned from the House Democrat leadership earlier this month. In a statement, he voiced that he wants to “avoid unnecessary distractions during a critical time for our country.”
Insiders close to Biden pointed out that Phillips had attended an evening of bowling with Republican and Democrat politicians who are members of the Problem Solvers Caucus at the White House in July, just a few weeks prior to phoning Biden.
Another Biden source also said that Phillips had recently spoken with White House personnel in charge of legislative affairs regarding “routine matters.”
The Biden campaign declared on Tuesday that although the president does not want to be on the 2024 Democratic primary ballot in New Hampshire, he still expects to be on the ballot for the general election.
The Democrat National Committee had proposed making South Carolina, not New Hampshire, the first state to hold presidential primary elections earlier this year. The primary date for New Hampshire is still pending.
In August, Phillips reportedly contacted the president, although he had already declared in public that he did not believe Biden should seek re-election.
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