Biden to meet with Democratic governors as concerns mount following the debate

President Joe Biden is set to meet with Democratic governors Wednesday as he tries to tamp down growing concerns about his ability to serve a second term following a devastating debate performance last week.

The White House said the event is scheduled to take place at 6:30 p.m. ET. The details of the meeting, which is expected to include a video call for those who aren’t attending person, are still being hashed out, according to three sources familiar with planning.

The Biden campaign declined to comment.

Democratic governors huddled by phone Monday, according to two Democratic sources, to discuss the party’s path forward after the debate. That call, organized by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, involved no staff members or White House or Biden campaign staff members. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who was critical to landing the Democratic National Convention for Chicago, was on the call, too.

The governors expressed their concerns after Biden’s poor debate performance.

“There isn’t a strategy someone is suggesting, and there’s a concern about what’s coming next. What’s the president going to do to counter the impression left by the debate?” one of the sources said.

The source said everyone on the call still supports the Biden campaign.

“What everybody needs is reassurance. No one said we need to go another direction,” this person said.

In Monday’s call, the governors suggested to Walz that they would like to have a call with Biden, which ultimately is what led to the meeting scheduled for Wednesday night at the White House.

“Democratic governors are some of the President and Vice President’s most proactive and vocal supporters because they’ve seen how the Biden-Harris Administration’s accomplishments are directly benefiting their residents,” another person familiar with the Monday call with governors said in a statement. “The Biden/Harris team is in constant communication with the governors and their teams, including about yesterday’s meeting.”

Separately, White House chief of staff Jeff Zients will hold an all-staff call at 12:30 p.m. ET Wednesday, according to a source familiar with the planning. Zients is expected to tell staff members to “weather the storm” and “keep your heads down.”

The call will include more junior staffers, some of whom have indicated frustration that no one is telling them anything. It is meant to amplify the message that Zients delivered to senior staff members — a much smaller group of about 40 — on Friday, when both he and Biden senior adviser Anita Dunn acknowledged the debate and said there would “always be challenging days.”