Congressman Dean Phillips is stepping down as co-chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee.
Phillips told Axios via a statement, “My convictions relative to the 2024 presidential race are incongruent with the majority of my caucus, and I felt it appropriate to step aside from elected leadership.”
The news comes a week after Phillips refused to deny he’s planning to challenge President Biden in the Democractic primary.
“I celebrate Leader Jeffries for his remarkable and principled leadership, and extend gratitude to my outstanding friends and colleagues for having created space and place for my perspectives,” Phillips added. “I’ll continue to abide by my convictions, place people over politics, and support our shared mission to deliver security, opportunity, and prosperity for all Americans. Onward!”
On the Sept. 25 episode of Steve Schmidt’s “The Warning” podcast, Phillips admitted that he hasn’t “ruled out” a primary challenge to Biden. He explained, “I think there are people who are more proximate, better prepared to campaign with national organizations, national name recognition, which I do not possess.”
“I’m concerned that there is no alternative,” Phillips concluded.
Weeks before, Phillips openly encouraged others in the Democratic Party to challenge Biden. He told Chuck Todd of the sitting president, “I’m not saying he’s not up to a second term. What I’m saying is look at the data. The data is speaking the truth right now. And if nobody’s willing to talk about it before it’s too late. That’s the key.”
He also cited Cornel West and Joe Manchin, both of whom have launched their own presidential runs, and added, “Enter the primary my friends. Meet the moment. Don’t wait five years. We need you now.”
The Congressman has cited Biden’s age and polls that suggest most Democrats prefer an alternative candidate as part of his motivation. Axios also reports that Phillips’ statements have put him at odds with many in the Democratic Party.
As explained by the Axios report, after House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries urged his party to “stay on message” during a meeting about government spending, Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove stood up and said, “There is someone in leadership who is not on message about our president” to a round of applause.