Joe Biden has defiantly vowed to keep running for re-election after rejecting pressure from within the Democratic Party to withdraw after a disastrous debate performance against Donald Trump.

“Let me say this as clearly as I possibly can, as simply and straightforward as I can: I am running,” the president said, according to a top aide who posted his comment on X.

“I’m not leaving. I’m in this race to the end, and we’re going to win,” he added, NBC News reported, citing a campaign official on the call.

Read more: The key moments in the first US presidential election debate

On the call, Mr Biden also called for his party to unify, telling them “when Democrats unite, we will always win, just as we beat Donald Trump in 2020, we’re going to beat him again in 2024”.

It comes after The New York Times reported the 81-year-old US president had told an ally he was weighing up whether to run against Mr Trump in November’s US election.

On Tuesday Mr Biden said he “nearly fell asleep” during last week’s first presidential debate, during which commentators widely said he performed poorly.

More on Joe Biden

According to The New York Times, which called for President Biden to step aside after the debate, an anonymous “key ally” of the president said: “He knows if he has two more events like that, we’re in a different place” by the weekend.

They emphasised the president is still fighting for re-election but he understands his next few appearances are pivotal.

Another anonymous adviser told the New York Times the president was “well aware of the political challenge he faces”.

After the report was published, White House spokesperson Andrew Bates wrote on social media: “This claim is absolutely false.”

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US voters react to Biden debate

Mr Biden put his performance down to travel exhaustion after going “around the world a couple of times” shortly before the debate.

The US president admitted he “wasn’t very smart” for having travelled extensively in the weeks leading up to the first TV debate of the election campaign in Atlanta.

His performance was such that friends and foes alike have told him to quit the race for the White House.

Biden’s response so far looks ‘more like frailty than fighter’

Among the screaming headlines is the line that will scream loudest to Joe Biden, Democrats and those deciding his future.

The media company “Puck” reports that Democratic polling shows he’s losing support in key battleground states in the wake of the TV debate.

Places that were in his pocket, like New Hampshire, Virginia and New Mexico are now in play.

Also, Biden is shown as trailing behind other alternative party candidates, including vice-president Kamala Harris, in hypothetical races against Donald Trump.

More than anything, it is the voter’s voice that will dictate Democratic choices about their leader.

These early rumblings won’t go unheard and, if amplified in the coming days, they will shift the gears in the drive for change.

The race against Donald Trump has always been close but Democrats have taken heart from a Biden trajectory that showed signs of arcing upwards.

Now the signs say something else.

A sense of crisis around the president has become increasingly embedded in the Democratic party in the days since the stage showdown with Donald Trump.

Many are as angry about the response to the debate as the debate itself and the sentiment is shared among party members, elected officials and some donors.

Their concern is that their man has had nearly a week to confound concerns around his well-being and has, seemingly, ignored the political necessity to do so.

There have been public appearances but the president has been stage-managed to within an inch of his life.

He hasn’t answered a single question from a journalist and has delivered only pre-prepared statements, read from autocue.

It’s the look of an insulated, tele-prompted president and it looks more like frailty than fighter.

It’s infuriating a party looking for reassurance about their president’s health and for his recognition that it needs delivered, urgently.

Mr Biden told supporters at a campaign event in Virginia on Tuesday: “I decided to travel around the world a couple times, going through around 100 time zones.”

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He added he “didn’t listen” to his staff, “came back and nearly fell asleep on stage”.

“That’s no excuse but it is an explanation,” he added while admitting: “I didn’t have my best night.”