Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., recently stepped down from his House Democrat leadership role in a move that Fox News Digital is told was not forced but the ‘writing was on the wall’ over his calls for a primary challenger to President Biden.
‘I have decided to step down from the DPCC & Democratic Caucus leadership,’ Phillips announced in a social media post on Sunday. ‘While politics & official work do not mix, it’s clear my convictions about 2024 are incongruent with the position of my colleagues & that was causing discomfort. I was not pressured or forced to resign.’
Fox News Digital is told that Phillips was not pushed out of his role and that leadership was generally supportive of Phillips but that his criticism of President Biden caused ripples in the caucus.
‘The writing was on the wall,’ said one source.
In a follow-up post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Phillips said that House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries has ‘provided space & place for all perspectives, and I celebrate him and our DPCC Chair, [Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo.] for their authentic & principled leadership.’
The straw that broke the camel’s back, Fox News Digital is told, came at a House Democratic Caucus meeting last week. During the meeting, Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove, D-Calif., was outspoken against Phillips for suggesting the president step aside.
Fox News Digital is told that this is the first time that Phillips may have realized his position was causing what was termed ‘significant discomfort’ among some Democrats.
Fox has learned that the Minnesota Democrat later spoke to Kamlager-Dove on the floor and asked why she did not come to him privately to express her concerns.
One source told Fox News Digital that Phillips is ‘thinking about bigger things,’ including a potential run for president, which the congressman has previously floated.
In August, Phillips urged his Democrat colleagues to jump into the race and told NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ that he ‘adores’ Biden but wants him to ‘pass the torch’ to new leaders.
‘I would like to see a moderate governor, hopefully from the heartland, from one of the four states that Democrats will need,’ Phillips said.
He continued, ‘Anybody who wants to run, Joe Manchin, Cornel West … that’s why we have primaries because that doesn’t undermine the likelihood of returning, in this case, a Democrat to the White House. I’m actively inviting, encouraging to some degree, imploring that people who are ready and know it’s probably time to do so take the chance.’
Phillips told ‘The Warning’ podcast last week that he is ‘thinking about it’ when asked if he is considering running against Biden.
‘I haven’t ruled it out,’ he added.
‘I think there are people who are more proximate, better prepared to campaign with national organizations, national name recognition, which I do not possess,’ Phillips added. ‘I’m concerned that there is no alternative.’
Phillips did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment. Kamlager-Dove declined to comment.