The Latest: Trump is back on campaign trail, Biden stands firm on staying in race, NATO summit

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Donald Trump is getting back on the campaign trail at his flagship Miami golf resort as Democrats face tough calls over President Joe Biden ’s reelection chances.

Ever since his dismal debate performance, Democrats have been wrestling with whether the 81-year-old Biden should continue as the party’s nominee. As anxious congressional Democrats returned to Washington weighing whether to work to revive his campaign or to try to edge him out, Biden Monday stood firm against calls for him to drop out of the race.

Against this backdrop of intense political drama, NATO leaders are converging on Washington starting Tuesday for a summit marking the organization’s 75th year. The main focus of the summit is for NATO leaders to shore up support for Ukraine in its battle against Russia but for Biden the summit has become just as much about demonstrating he is capable of meeting the grinding demands of the presidency for four more years.

Follow the AP’s Election-2024 coverage at: https://apnews.com/hub/election-2024

Follow the AP’s coverage of the NATO Summit: https://apnews.com/hub/nato

The Latest:

Mental fitness vs. moral fitness?

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont is standing by Biden, but says he’s concerned about the election being dominated by talk about Biden’s mental fitness.

Lamont was one of the first governors to endorse Biden in the 2020 election.

He told reporters Tuesday that Biden is “just getting started when it comes to his agenda.”

Still, Lamont acknowledged concerns about Biden’s candidacy.

“I do worry that we’re going to spend the whole time talking about President Biden’s mental fitness, and we’re not taking the battle to Donald Trump and talking about his moral fitness,” he said.

Harris headlining outreach to Asian American voters

Vice President Kamala Harris will appear with former “Top Chef” host Padma Lakshmi at an event in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

It’s the kickoff of a formal outreach campaign to Asian American voters that President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign is launching this week.

Harris is the first person of South Asian descent to serve as vice president.

She will also deliver a keynote address Saturday at a town hall in Philadelphia hosted by APIAVote, an advocacy group.

The Biden campaign has already launched coalition groups focusing on Black voters and Latino voters.

Dour room

One person who was in the room described the Democratic meeting as dour.

There’s growing concern that Biden remaining in the race means the election will center around Biden’s age instead of Trump, according to the person who was granted anonymity to discuss the private meeting.

But the person also told AP that Democrats worry Biden can’t be replaced because he’s so dug in.

There could also be legal issues replacing a candidate so close to the election.

A fighting spirit, but can he win?

A few of the Democrats who have publicly called for the president to step aside came out more resolute than before, but not all.

“The fighting spirit and pride and courage that served the country so well four years ago, that helped Joe Biden win, will bring the ticket down this time,” said Rep. Mike Quigley from Illinois.

“He just has to step down because he can’t win,” Quigley said.

But Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York seemed to reverse course after previously privately expressing that Biden should leave.

“He is going to be our nominee, and we all have to support him,” Nadler said.

‘Not even in the same book’

Democrats had varying views of their nearly two-hour conversation, with some saying the party is unified and others leaving even more disconcerted.

Rep. Steven Cohen of Tennessee had a memorable answer when reporters asked him if the session got the party on the same page.

“We are not even in the same book,” Cohen said.

Others like Rep. Gregory Meeks, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the caucus is united behind Biden as their nominee.

Mayors are nextup for Biden

The president will keep up his personal outreach to different factions of the Democratic Party Tuesday night.

He’ll hold a virtual meeting with mayors around the country, according to a person familiar with the plans.

Biden plans to give remarks and take questions from the mayors.

It’s a formant similar to that used with members of the Congressional Black Caucus and with campaign donors on Monday.

Biden very effective in meetings, Yellen says

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen spoke in favor of Biden’s performance on Tuesday.

She was asked by a Republican member of Congress during a House Financial Services Committee hearing whether she’d seen any “cognitive or mental decline.”

“The president is extremely effective in the meetings I’ve been in with him,” Yellen responded.

“That includes many international meetings that are multi-hour, like his meetings with President Xi.”

She said there had been no discussions among cabinet secretaries about invoking the 25th Amendment. That amendment deals with presidential removal.

Harris heads to Vegas

Vice President Kamala Harris took off from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland Tuesday, headed west for a series of campaign events in Las Vegas.

Harris will meet with and rally voters in Las Vegas and Dallas this week.

She’s facing extra attention among Democrats considering her prospects as a possible replacement for Biden, who is resisting calls to step aside.

Dems gather for ‘family’ chat

House Democrats convened for a “family” discussion behind closed doors early Tuesday.

Tensions are still high over the 2024 election and President Joe Biden’s candidacy.

No cell phones. No leaks. Just what Caucus Chairman Rep. Pete Aguilar billed as a family chat among lawmakers.

So far, Biden’s supporters have been the most vocal emerging from the more than hour-long chat. But discontent remains behind the scenes.

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