Two More Democratic Lawmakers Express Concern About Biden After Debate

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, said he was surprised and “horrified” by President Biden’s frail appearance in his debate against former President Donald J. Trump and pleaded with Mr. Biden and his campaign to be candid about his current condition.

In an interview with WPRI, a television station in Providence, Mr. Whitehouse, who in March defended Mr. Biden as “the only option that we have” to defeat Mr. Trump in the election, expressed alarm and said that he had “never seen” Mr. Biden in that kind of condition before.

“Like a lot of people, I was pretty horrified,” Mr. Whitehouse said Monday, adding that he wanted “the president and his team to be candid about his condition, that this was a real anomaly and not just the way he is these days.”

Mr. Whitehouse was joined in his concerns by Representative Debbie Dingell, a Michigan Democrat in a deep blue district that encompasses Ann Arbor. Ms. Dingell criticized the Biden campaign for reports that its leaders were “going to stick to their strategy” and were considering holding some kind of interview or news conference to allay concerns about the president.

“One interview isn’t going to fix this,” Ms. Dingell said in an interview on CNN, adding: “I think the campaign’s got to listen to people. And by the way, I think the campaign needs to listen to us.”

She continued: “I know how to win campaigns. My strategy is to stick my ear to the ground and know what people are saying.”

The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It was the latest in a wave of reactions among Democrats concerned about Mr. Biden and his re-election campaign. The campaign and Biden allies have sought to tamp down the panic that has gripped the party and its wealthy donors in the aftermath of the debate. Top Democratic lawmakers fanned out on Sunday to defend the president and reassure his supporters.

But Ms. Dingell’s and Mr. Whitehouse’s comments on Monday demonstrated that questions about Mr. Biden’s fitness for another four years in office will continue to linger heading into the Democrats’ nominating convention in August.

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