PG A.M.: ‘Calm down.’ Biden’s top Georgia allies scramble to regroup

Your daily jolt of news and analysis from the AJC politics team
President Joe Biden said that his debate performance was hampered by recent international travel.

Credit: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Credit: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

President Joe Biden said that his debate performance was hampered by recent international travel.

Six days after the debate debacle in Atlanta, President Joe Biden and his top allies are still struggling to contain the damage from his showdown against former president Donald Trump.

The president will gather with Democratic congressional leaders and governors tonight to soothe fears about his physical and mental health and, his supporters hope, outline an aggressive strategy to reassure voters he’s fit to serve another term.

Biden on Wednesday blamed his shaky performance on his recent international travel, saying he “fell asleep on the stage” after a spate of overseas visits. He said he should have “listened to my staff” about the mileage.

U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., is standing behind President Joe Biden, despite his poor debate performance.

Credit: Steve Schaefer/AJC

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Credit: Steve Schaefer/AJC

Georgia’s top Democrats have closed ranks around Biden, with U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams and U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock among the leaders who are leading the charge.

“The first thing we all need to do right now is calm down,” said Democratic strategist Tharon Johnson. “I’ve been working in Democratic politics for more than 20 years now, and I’ve never seen our party in such a panic.”

But more Democrats are going public with their concerns about the president. U.S Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island said he was “horrified” by the disjointed debate, while U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas said it should disqualify him from running again.

In Georgia, former U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux has become the most prominent state Democrat to call on Biden to withdraw. Bourdeaux, who is a guest on “Politically Georgia” today, said the debate proved Biden doesn’t have “the mental or physical stamina” to serve another four years.

“It’s no one’s fault, and it’s not fair. But life isn’t fair,” the moderate Democrat wrote in a commentary for the AJC. “And the best path forward is an intentional and organized process to select another Democratic nominee to beat Trump.”

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Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is spearheading the election interference case against former President Donald Trump.

Credit: Ben Gray for the AJC

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Credit: Ben Gray for the AJC

FULTON FALLOUT. The U.S. Supreme Court’s 6-3 ruling granting a president broad immunity for official actions will eviscerate some of Fulton County’s election-interference case against Donald Trump.

The AJC’s Bill Rankin also reports it will trigger an all-out courtroom battle to decide which parts of the indictment will remain part of the case and which will be tossed.

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The sentencing of former President Donald Trump for his hush money convictions has been postponed until at least September.

Credit: Jeffrey Phelps/AP

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Credit: Jeffrey Phelps/AP

SENTENCING DELAY. In another aftershock of the High Court’s decision, the sentencing of former President Donald Trump for his New York hush money felony convictions was postponed until at least September.

That means Trump will no longer face sentencing for his 34 felony convictions on July 11 — days before the Republican National Convention. He’s denied any wrongdoing and said he’s a victim of politicized prosecution.

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Former U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux of Georgia is a guest today on the "Politically Georgia" show.

Credit: Miguel Martinez/AJC

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Credit: Miguel Martinez/AJC

LISTEN UP. Today on “Politically Georgia,” former U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux explains why she’s become the most prominent Georgia Democrat to call on President Joe Biden to withdraw from the race.

Associated Press Reporter Lisa Mascaro will share her reporting on “Project 2025,” a document outlining what conservatives hope to accomplish if former President Donald Trump returns to the White House.

Listen live at 10 a.m. on WABE 90.1 or follow “Politically Georgia” on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

Before you tune in, check out Tuesday’s episode featuring U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams, the chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia, and Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper, one of Donald Trump’s top allies in Georgia.

“The good news is, what we’ve done in Georgia has set the stage for a platform and a foundation to build off,” said Harper.

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In this 2019 file photo, farm workers hand plant rows of watermelon while riding on a seat platform behind a tractor at a farm in Tift County.

Credit: Curtis Compton/AJC

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Credit: Curtis Compton/AJC

MIGRANT FARMERS. Georgia is part of a coalition of Republican-led states that sued the federal government to halt a new federal rule that would bring expanded protections to migrant farmworkers on temporary visas.

The entities behind the lawsuit, including the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, say the new rule amounts to government overreach and risks putting growers out of business, the AJC’s Lautaro Grinspan reports.

Advocates, who will have greater access to migrant farmers under the new Department of Labor rule, say expanded protections are needed, given numerous reports of worker abuse, including out of Georgia.

The lawsuit was filed just days before a U.S. Supreme Court decision that could weaken federal agencies’ rulemaking abilities and lead to new challenges from businesses and states.

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President Joe Biden will posthumously award the Medal of Honor to Philip G. Shadrach (left) and George D. Wilson (right).

Credit: Courtesy of U.S. Defense Department

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Credit: Courtesy of U.S. Defense Department

CIVIL WAR HEROES. President Joe Biden will posthumously award the Medal of Honor today to two Union soldiers who were executed after participating in one of the most daring raids during the Civil War.

The AJC’s Jeremy Redmon writes that Pvts. Philip G. Shadrach and George D. Wilson were hanged in 1862 after seizing a train in North Georgia as it sped toward Tennessee. The infiltrators destroyed railroad tracks and telegraph wires along the way, with the goal of disrupting Confederate supply lines and capturing Chattanooga.

The mission became known as the Great Locomotive Chase. Most of the other raiders have been honored already with the nation’s highest military award for valor, but Shadrach and Wilson fell through the cracks.

The train the saboteurs boarded is on display at the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History in Kennesaw.

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TODAY IN WASHINGTON:

  • President Joe Biden will have lunch with Vice President Kamala Harris, host a Medal of Honor award ceremony and then meet privately with Democratic governors at the White House.
  • The U.S. House and Senate are in recess until July 8.

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U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., will be featured in "Breaking Bread with Alexander" during Season 2.

Credit: Courtesy of Alexander Heffner

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Credit: Courtesy of Alexander Heffner

BREAKING BREAD. U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock is among the elected officials who agreed to a meal in his Savannah hometown and an in-depth conversation with TV host Alexander Heffner.

“Breaking Bread with Alexander” is a show streaming on Bloomberg Originals. Food is the jump off point for conversations about politics and policy. Season 2 premieres Thursday with Arizona U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly.

New episodes drop weekly, and Warnock’s will come later in the season. In it, he will introduce Heffner to a meal of chicken and waffles along with crab cake Benedict. The two will also visit Warnock’s childhood home.

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Some 150 Georgia residents became U.S. citizens during a special naturalization ceremony in Gwinnett County on Tuesday.

Credit: Steve Schaefer/AJC

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Credit: Steve Schaefer/AJC

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE. U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath helped welcome 150 Georgia residents from 50 different countries who became U.S. citizens during a special Independence Day-themed naturalization ceremony on Tuesday.

The event in Gwinnett County was among at least 45 special naturalization ceremonies that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is hosting this week across the country, the AJC’s Alia Pharr and Merrill Hart wrote. The ceremony culminated with each participant swearing the citizenship oath, saying the Pledge of Allegiance and receiving a certificate.

McBath, in her remarks, noted that July 2 marked the day in 1776 that the Continental Congress formally voted for America’s independence.

“Immigrants made vital contributions to the very foundation of this democracy,” the Marietta Democrat said. “It is essential that as we celebrate our nation’s Independence Day, which we will do this week, we be reminded that no matter where you come from, no matter what your story is, America yearns for the contributions of all her people.”

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In this AJC file photo, Fourth of July parade goers in Marietta wave flags.

Credit: Chris Day/AJC

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Credit: Chris Day/AJC

INSIDER NOTE. Your Politically Georgia staff will be taking off Thursday and Friday for the Fourth of July holiday. Happy Independence Day!

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AS ALWAYS, Politically Georgia readers are some of our favorite tipsters. Send your best scoop, gossip and insider info to greg.bluestein@ajc.com, tia.mitchell@ajc.com, patricia.murphy@ajc.com and adam.vanbrimmer@ajc.com.