House progressives who’ve been antagonistic to President Biden are suddenly in a position to defend him.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Protesting to extend the eviction moratorium at the U.S. Capitol. (Photo: Miki Jourdan)

Why Is the Squad Backing Biden So Forcefully?” wondered Nia Prater for the New Yorker this week.

“Biden’s most vocal cheerleaders include unsurprising names like longtime ally Senator Chris Coons of Delaware and former Democratic leaders like Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Jim Clyburn,” began Prater. “But the president is also getting strong backing from the Squad, the small group of House progressives who have often strongly disagreed with Biden on policy in the past.”

“Joe Biden is our nominee,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told reporters flatly when asked over the weekend. “President Biden has made clear that he is in this race. The matter is closed. Biden is our nominee. He is in this race and I support him. He is running against Donald Trump, who is a man with 34 felony convictions. Not a single Republican has asked for Donald Trump to not be the nominee. I’m here to win in November.”

“We are losing the plot,” warned fellow Squad member Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Massachusetts). “Joe Biden is the nominee.”

“He’s been the best president of my lifetime and we have his back,” House Squad member Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) promised the Washington Post on Saturday.

But while some surprising names are rallying to Biden’s defense, others seem cagey or lukewarm at best.

“This isn’t over,” Kadia Goba, Joseph Zeballos-Roig, and Benjy Sarlin paraphrased former House Speaker and Democratic Party heavy hitter Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-California) for Semafor this morning.

“That was the message Nancy Pelosi delivered subtly, but also loud and clear, in an appearance on Biden’s favorite news show on Wednesday,” they added. “Refusing to directly endorse Biden’s continued candidacy, she instead pressed him to make a decision on his path that he publicly has already made. And she suggested he and Democrats hold off on considering the question until after this week’s NATO summit, which the White House has hoped will be a turning point for Democratic support.”

“It’s up to the president to decide if he is going to run,” Pelosi told “Morning Joe” hosts on Monday. “We’re all encouraging him to make that decision because time is running short.”

Some influential Democrats are calling for Vice President Kamala Harris to take a more central role in the Biden-Harris campaign.

“He’s still in the race and he’s doing what he’s supposed to do,” said former Obama adviser and progressive firebrand Van Jones on CNN. “I’m glad to see him out there. I’m glad he’s doing interviews. I’m glad he’s doing all those things. The challenge is that the numbers are not encouraging and the party is no longer united.”

“You already have four House Democrats who are saying step down,” said Jones. “You’re going to have, more you’re going to have more this week. Unfortunately, you’re gonna have the split screen of the president having NATO allies here and people in his own party looking at this math, as David Axelrod said, this time, four years ago, Biden was up ten. He’s down six. We needed that debate to turn things around. It did turn things around, in a negative direction.”

“And so I think that he’s going to have to look in his heart,” he mused. “This is a party that loves him. I’ve never heard so many people say about a politician, I love this man. Not just I respect him, I just admire him. I love Joe Biden. He is beloved in this party and yet he may not be able to get across the finish line.”

“I think people are hoping that he will recognize we’re running Kamala Harris for president right now,” Jones added. “She’s — that’s who we’re running. Nobody believes Joe Biden’s going to be president in four years. And so we’re in the worst possible world because she can’t defend herself, she has to defend him. We can’t defend her, we have to defend him. If we’re basically running Kamala Harris anyway, let’s run Kamala Harris and let her get out there and defend herself.”

“And except, that’s where we are,” Van Jones said in conclusion. “The reality is we are running Kamala Harris for president one way or the other. I’d rather run for president in the strongest way rather than the weakest way.”

(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)