Bidenworld’s Darkest Hour

joe biden debate
The punditocracy has been all but unanimous (and lethally so) in its collective judgment that the time has come for Joe to go. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
John Heilemann
July 1, 2024

At the end of a weekend in which the question of whether Joe Biden should stand down as his party’s de facto presidential nominee was the singular, all-consuming topic of conversation among members of the Democratic political class, the president and his family were gathered at Camp David for a Vogue photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz. But at the same time, and more significantly, Bidenworld was working the phones, endeavoring mightily to shut down the chatter du jour, tout de suite.

The results of those calls were apparent soon enough. In quick succession on Sunday night, The New York Times and AP posted stories with nearly identical headlines, ledes, and gists: The president’s wife, children, and grandchildren were of one mind that, in the face of pressure from his party to quit the race, Biden should, in effect, steal a page from Winston Churchill—never yield, never give in, never, never, never. Both stories also included details (confirmed by my own reporting) that caused eyebrows to arch or eyes to roll up and down the Acela corridor: that Jill and Hunter Biden were the most adamant voices urging the patriarch to stand tall and plow forward, full-speed ahead.