President Biden’s family blamed staff for his rocky debate performance, as the commander in chief is laying low again at Camp David on Monday, according to reports. 

The president and first lady Jill Biden aren’t scheduled to return to the White House until Monday night. On Sunday, Biden’s wife, children and grandchildren used a gathering at Camp David to urge him to stay in the race and keep fighting despite his debate performance, and some family members criticized how his staff prepared him for the faceoff, The Associated Press reported, citing four people familiar with the discussions.

Politico also reported that Biden’s family members cast blame widely on Biden staffers, complaining that they did not adequately prepare the president to go on the attack more, to focus more on laying out his vision for the next four years rather than getting bogged down in defending his record, and that they allowed him to become overworked without enough rest beforehand. 

The family’s criticism was hurled specifically toward Anita Dunn, the senior adviser who frequently has the president’s ear; her husband, Bob Bauer, the president’s attorney who played Donald Trump in rehearsals at Camp David; and Ron Klain, the former chief of staff who ran point on the debate prep and previous cycles’ sessions, Politico reported, citing three people briefed on the family conversations but not directly involved.


Joe and Jill Biden in East Hampton

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive on Marine One at East Hampton Airport on Saturday, June 29, 2024, in East Hampton, New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

According to Politico, the sources “said the Biden family wanted the president to continue in the campaign rather than end his career with a calamitous debate performance against Trump, whom they all loathe.” 

Biden’s relatives were also asking why Klain allowed the president to become overburdened by statistics and why Biden, who came to the Atlanta debate with a summer tan, had makeup on during the debate, making him look pale, the New York Times reported, citing people close to the situation. 

In addition to the first lady, Hunter Biden was one of the strongest voices encouraging his father to stay in the race, according to all three reports. 

Joe and Jill Biden walk off stage

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden walk off stage after speaking at a campaign rally on Friday, June 28, 2024, in Raleigh, North Carolina. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

While his family was aware of how poorly he performed against Trump, they also continue to think he’s the best person to beat the Republican presumptive nominee, according to the people who were not authorized to speak publicly about internal discussions and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity. They also believe he is capable of serving as president for another four years. 

The president was reportedly making calls over the weekend with his inner circle to hear their thoughts about staying in the race. As Biden boarded Air Force One on Saturday, he spoke on the phone with Jon Meacham, a trusted confidant, the Politico reported, citing photographs of the caller ID. 

Biden’s granddaughters Finnegan and Natalie Biden traveled with their grandparents to participate in several fundraising events on Saturday in New York and New Jersey. 


Biden and family board Air Force One

President Biden talks on the phone as he walks to board Air Force One at McGuire Air Force Base on Saturday, June 29, 2024, in New Jersey. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The Times reported that campaign advisers “have been burning up the phone lines all weekend with major donors angry about the situation in hopes of heading off a wave of defections.” 

The campaign scheduled a conference call Monday at 5:30 p.m. for its national finance committee to hear from Jen O’Malley Dillon, the campaign chair, the Times reported.  

“Many insiders have said that preserving the donor base will be key to the president staying in the race,” the report said. 

Biden and family arrive on Marine One

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive on Marine One with granddaughters Natalie Biden, from left, and Finnegan Biden, on Saturday, June 29, 2024, in East Hampton, New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Biden campaign spokesperson Kevin Munoz defended re-election staffers in a statement to Politico. 

“The aides who prepped the President have been with him for years, often decades, seeing him through victories and challenges. He maintains strong confidence in them,” Munoz told Politico. 

Fox News Digital also reached out to the Biden campaign for comment on Monday. 

John Morgan, a top Democratic donor close to President Biden’s brother, Frank, had publicly blamed the advisers Dunn, Klain and Bauer for the debate performance. 

“Biden has for too long been fooled by the value of Anita Dunn and her husband,” Morgan wrote on X. “They need to go… TODAY. The grifting is gross. It was political malpractice.”


“It would be like if you took a prizefighter who was going to have a title fight and put him in a sauna for 15 hours then said, ‘Go fight,’” Morgan told the Times in an interview. “I believe that the debate is solely on Ron Klain, Bob Bauer and Anita Dunn.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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