Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump ratcheted up his attacks on Vice President Kamala Harris at a rally near Miami on Tuesday, trying to discredit her as the Democratic Party tussles over whether President Joe Biden should remain in the race.

Speaking at his golf club in Doral, Florida, Trump stayed mum on his planned choice for his running mate, although he name-checked Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who was in attendance and is a leading contender for the role, multiple times.

Taking the stage nearly an hour late on a hot night, Trump blasted the 81-year-old Biden about his shaky debate performance on June 27, which prompted worries about his mental fitness for office and calls from some Democrats for him to step aside.

Biden said he had a bad night and that he will not drop out of the presidential race.

In a mocking tone, Trump called Biden’s choice of Harris, the first Black and woman vice president, his “one brilliant decision,” implying that she was so inept that Democrats were reluctant to replace Biden with her on the top of the ticket.

“It was an insurance policy, maybe the best insurance policy I’ve ever seen,” Trump said. “If Joe had picked someone even halfway competent, they would have bounced him from office years ago.”

Trump also accused Harris, a former U.S. Senator and California attorney general, of working with other Democrats on covering up Biden’s alleged mental acuity issues. Biden has said he has the stamina and mental sharpness to do the job.

Trump also said Harris’s record would hurt her electoral chances, the latest sign that he and his Republican allies are starting an all-out assault on Harris to prepare for Biden possibly ending his re-election bid.

“I don’t think Kamala Harris’s California socialism is going to go down well with the people of Doral, the people of Miami or the people of Florida. Because in Florida we don’t like socialism, we want our freedom,” Trump said.

The Biden campaign accused Trump of lying about Harris, and said he was trying to deflect from growing attention paid to Project 2025, a conservative group’s controversial plans to remake the presidency should Trump win the Nov. 5 election.

“Trump’s bizarre and unhinged rants won’t stop Vice President Harris from defending the Biden-Harris record and prosecuting the case against Donald Trump’s extreme record,” Biden campaign spokesperson Ammar Moussa said.


Seemingly joking, Trump challenged Biden to another debate, saying that it should be “man to man, no moderators, no holds barred,” and to 18 holes of golf – a reference to their argument during the debate over who was better at the sport.

“It will be among the most watched sporting events in history, maybe bigger than the Ryder Cup or even the Masters,” Trump said, adding that he would give Biden 20 strokes.

The Biden campaign dismissed Trump’s golf challenge as a stunt. They said Biden, who gave a speech at the NATO summit in Washington on Tuesday vowing to defend Ukraine against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion, was too busy governing.

“We’d challenge Donald Trump to stand up to Putin, but he bent the knee to him,” said campaign spokesperson James Singer.

Trump praised what he called an “incredible decision” by the Supreme Court last week determining that he could not be prosecuted for actions within his constitutional powers as president, a landmark decision that could have broad implications for the criminal charges he is facing.

Biden called the ruling “a dangerous precedent” because the power of the presidency will no longer be constrained by law.

Calling the prosecutions against him politically motivated, Trump said he had “great respect for the courage” shown by the conservative justices who ruled in his favor. “They have great intellect and great insight, incredible insight,” he said.

On Saturday, the former president will travel to Pennsylvania for an afternoon rally in Butler, just outside of Pittsburgh, where the focus will be on any hint – or announcement – about whom he will pick as vice president.

Rubio, Ohio Senator J.D. Vance and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum are seen as the leading contenders to join Trump on the Republican ticket. Trump said this week that he would likely make a decision “a little before” or during the Republican Party’s national convention, which kicks off on July 15.

Calling out Rubio by name, Trump pointed out the large number of journalists in attendance. “I think they probably think I’m going to be announcing that Marco is going to be vice president, because that’s a lot of press,” he said.

Meanwhile, a growing number of Democrats in the Congress said they worried that President Joe Biden could not beat Donald Trump in the election, though they emerged from closed-door meetings on Tuesday with no plans for collective action.

President Joe Biden at the Roxborough Democratic Coordinated Campaign Office during a campaign stop in, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

A seventh Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives publicly called on the 81-year-old incumbent to end his wounded reelection campaign, and the first Senate Democrat came forward to say that Biden could not win, though he stopped short of calling on him to drop out.

“Donald Trump is on track, I think, to win this election and maybe win it by a landslide and take with it the Senate and the House,” Democratic Senator Michael Bennet said in an interview on CNN. Asked if Biden should end his campaign, he replied, “This is something for the president to consider.”

If Trump wins the White House and Republicans win majorities in both chambers of Congress, he will face few obstacles in pursuit of major policy changes. Democrats already face an uphill battle to protect their 51-49 Senate majority, as they must defend multiple seats in Republican-leaning states.

Republicans hold a 220-213 majority in the House.

The party’s leaders in the U.S. Senate and House, Chuck Schumer and Hakeem Jeffries, said little about hours of closed-door talks among Democratic lawmakers, who in any event lack the authority to push Biden aside even if they agreed on a course of action.

Biden’s halting June 27 debate performance against Trump and low public approval have raised fresh doubts among some Democrats about his ability to win or to keep up with the demands of his grueling job for another 4-1/2 years.

Representative Mikie Sherrill became the seventh House Democrat to call on Biden publicly to drop out of the race, saying in a statement, “The stakes are too high – and the threat is too real – to stay silent.”

Many more lawmakers have expressed worries that Biden has not done enough in the ensuing days to convince voters that the debate was an aberration, rather than a true reflection of his abilities.

But the president continues to argue that he is best positioned to defeat former President Trump, 78, whom he casts as a singular threat to American democracy.

Senate Majority Leader Schumer brushed off questions about Biden’s fitness, saying three times, “I’m with Joe,” during a brief exchange with reporters after Senate Democrats met over lunch to discuss the president’s campaign.

“While President Biden has made clear he feels he is the best candidate to win this election, nothing that has happened over the past twelve days suggests that voters see things the same way,” Representative Lori Trahan said in a statement on Tuesday.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll last week found that one in three registered Democratic voters believed that Biden should quit the race, with 59% saying he is too old to work in government.

The poll also found that none of his possible replacements fared better in a matchup against Trump. The poll showed Biden and Trump tied at 40% each.


While national public opinion polls offer a view of candidates’ standing, U.S. presidential elections are decided state by state. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report on Tuesday changed its ratings on three of the most competitive states — Arizona, Georgia and Nevada — to “lean Republican” from “toss-up,” citing shifting voter views of Biden following the debate.

Biden delivered a forceful speech to a gathering of NATO leaders in Washington on Tuesday, while Vice President Kamala Harris – seen as the most likely candidate to replace Biden if he were to stand down – campaigned in Nevada.

“The one thing we know about Joe Biden is he is a fighter. He is the first to say when you get knocked down, you get back up,” Harris told supporters in Las Vegas.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre faced another salvo of questions from reporters about Biden’s health on Tuesday. In a statement, the White House physician said Biden was not being treated for any neurological condition and had received a clean bill of health at his most recent physical examination in February.

Biden has secured renewed support from several key constituencies, including from members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Black voters make up a crucial component of the party’s base.

Some House Democrats expressed frustration that the party was focused on Biden’s shortcomings rather than unifying against Trump, who falsely claims that his 2020 loss was the result of fraud and has not committed to accepting this year’s results if he loses.

“I think the president has decided that the discussion has come to an end and that he is firm in his commitment to run,” Representative Stephen Lynch said of Biden, adding that the dissidents “are gonna have to get on board.”