Wall Street titans met privately to discuss President Biden, with one CEO saying the president dropping out of the race is an ‘inevitability’



President Biden’s disastrous performance against Donald Trump in the first presidential debate has some of his top backers on Wall Street wondering whether he should step aside.

A group of titan financiers apparently pondered the question over the weekend, speaking to friends, colleagues, and each other about what Biden’s future holds, the New York Times Dealbook reported, citing people with knowledge of the discussions. 

The high-powered group included BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, former Treasury secretary Robert Rubin, President and COO of BlackStone Jon Gray, Lazard CEO Peter Orszag, cofounder of Centerview Partners Blair Effron, and Robert Wolf, a former UBS executive with ties to former president Obama.

Although they preferred to speak in private rather than make a public declaration like other media moguls and politicians, the bankers’ conclusion was largely the same: the President’s days as the Democratic nominee may be numbered. At least one unnamed executive told DealBook that there was an “inevitability” to Biden stepping aside, while others said they were “concerned.”

Requests for comment sent by Fortune to the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee were not immediately returned. 

Some of the bankers discussed “elegant” ways for Biden to bow out, but others were concerned about how such a change would affect the Democratic party at large and the outcome of the race.

Some executives suggested to DealBook that Biden should not withdraw before the convention, lest it complicate his ability to name a successor. If he stepped down prematurely and Trump won because of inter-party turmoil, Biden could take the blame.

Other executives differed, saying that Biden should get out of the race to allow time for several candidates to campaign and debate in a sort of “mini-primary.” This move could give a successor more legitimacy and would draw the attention away from Donald Trump, who is set to be officially named as the Republican nominee at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee next week. 

While the bankers conversed behind closed doors, other big name donors and politicians have aired their grievances publicly. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel, and IAC chairman Barry Diller have all called on Biden to step aside. Heiress Abigail Disney said she and her family would walk back $3 million in donations if Biden does not withdraw.  

Still, President Biden has ardently opposed stepping away from the race, and in an interview with ABC last week blamed his “bad episode” during the debate on sickness.

“No indication of any serious condition. I was exhausted. I didn’t listen to my instincts in terms of preparing and—and a bad night,” he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. 

On Monday, the President reaffirmed his intentions to stay in the race via a letter to Congressional Democrats.

“The voters of the Democratic Party have voted. They have chosen me to be the nominee of the party,” he wrote.



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