President Joe Biden remains “firmly committed” to his campaign for reelection and will not drop out, he said in a lengthy letter written to Democratic lawmakers Monday morning.

Biden declared “unequivocally” that he would not be running if he “did not absolutely believe I was the best person to beat Donald Trump in 2024.”

“The question of how to move forward has been well-aired for over a week now,” Biden continued. “And it’s time for it to end. We have one job. And that is to beat Donald Trump.”

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The letter is an attempt to stop the fallout following Biden’s disastrous performance at a June 27 debate, where the president looked feeble and at times incoherent. In the aftermath, Biden’s fitness to campaign for reelection — and his ability to serve for four more years, until the age of 86, should he win — were called into question.

Five Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives have publicly called on Biden to end his campaign and allow another candidate to be the Democratic nominee. Several more have reportedly done the same in private, including a number of senior House Democrats.

But Biden has struck a defiant pose, declaring in rallies and interviews that he would not heed their calls. “I’m not letting one 90-minute debate wipe out 3½ years of work,” he said at a rally in Madison, Wisconsin on Friday. In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on the same day, Biden said it would require “the Lord Almighty” to tell him to drop out in order for him to end his campaign. “The Lord Almighty’s not coming down,” he said.

Even so, Biden has seen a noticeable drop in polling since his debate performance: while FiveThirtyEight’s aggregate of national polls showed Trump and Biden in a dead heat on June 27, Trump has since widened his lead.

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Biden doesn’t believe polls

In his ABC interview, Biden said he does not believe the polls. In his letter to lawmakers, he doubled down. “I have no doubt that I — and we — can and will beat Donald Trump,” he wrote.

Biden pointed to the Democratic Party’s primary elections as evidence that he is the party’s rightful candidate. “We had a Democratic nomination process and the voters have spoken clearly and decisively,” he wrote. “I received over 14 million votes, 87% of the votes cast across the entire nominating process. I have nearly 3,900 delegates, making me the presumptive nominee of our party by a wide margin.”

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He continued: “This was a process open to anyone who wanted to run. Only three people chose to challenge me. ... The voters of the Democratic Party have voted. They have chosen me to be the nominee of the party. Do we now just say this process didn’t matter? That the voters don’t have a say?”

But Biden’s critics — including his primary challengers — argue that the primary process was not fair to other candidates. In several instances, efforts were made to dissuade non-Biden candidates from accessing the ballot. In Florida, the state’s Democratic Party placed only Biden’s name on the ballot, effectively canceling the primary. In New Hampshire, the Democratic National Committee refused to recognize the state-run primary election, assigning no delegates to the winner.

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Biden pointed to the primary as evidence that he is Democrats’ choice. “Do we now just say this process didn’t matter?” Biden wrote. “That the voters don’t have a say?”

Any prolonged debates about whether Biden should be the Democratic candidate only weakens their ability to defeat Trump, Biden concluded. “We have one job. And that is to beat Donald Trump,” Biden wrote. “We have 42 days to the Democratic Convention and 119 days to the general election. Any weakening of resolve or lack of clarity about the task ahead only helps Trump and hurts us. It is time to come together, move forward as a unified party, and defeat Donald Trump.”

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