Western Slope congressional candidate Adam Frisch grabbed some headlines Tuesday by being among the first Democrats to call for 81-year-old President Joe Biden to get out of the 2024 race, citing the president’s advanced age and inability to effectively combat former President Donald Trump’s incessant stream of lies during last week’s first presidential debate.

“The number one goal that President Biden should have had was to push back effectively on all the lies that President Trump was [telling], and he failed to do it,” Frisch said in a phone interview Tuesday. “And it was very clear from the very start that, for better or worse, the TV anchors [on CNN] were not going to get involved in that conversation.

“So it was on Biden, and he couldn’t even push back on that. He couldn’t even defend women’s reproductive healthcare, which is his bread and butter, so yeah, I appreciate that you could make an argument about all the bad things that Trump did on the debate stage, but he’s going one way and President Biden’s going the other way in the polls,” Frisch added.

Starting with an email blast and a video statement and culminating in a guest opinion piece in the Washington Post, Frisch, who lost to Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert by just 546 votes in 2022, argued “neither candidate should be running for president … we deserve better. President Biden should do what’s best for the country and withdraw from the race.”

Pressed on why he’s not calling more aggressively for Trump, a 78-year-old convicted felon who rambles and lies incessantly, to get out of the race, Frisch made it clear neither candidate should be running.

“My view is that there is an anti-Trump coalition, not so much a pro-Biden coalition, so find somebody who can build the best version of an anti-Trump coalition,” Frisch said, lamenting the lack of a competitive Democratic presidential primary and stating no clear preference for a younger replacement for Biden going forward. He claims Biden backers haven’t been honest with the American public about the aging president’s waning health.

“There’s like a dozen Biden advisors that I think, with respect, have not been completely honest about the status of the president’s health for many months, and they’ve been gaslighting, for lack of a better term, nationally, well-respected journalists who’ve been writing stories about what they’ve heard,” Frisch said, adding things are only going to get worse before the Nov. 5 election.

“[Biden] was losing before the debate. He’s certainly losing after the debate. I assume the polls are going to come out and not be beneficial, and that’s before there’s $500 million spent attacking him based on a series of clips, partly from the debate and partly elsewhere,” Frisch said.

Screenshot from the first presidential debate

Colorado’s massive 3rd Congressional District, which includes most of southern and western Colorado, leans Republican and independent. A businessman and former Aspen City Council member, Frisch previously worked in the financial markets as a trader.

Asked to comment on the age and mental health of both presidential candidates, a campaign spokesman for Grand Junction lawyer Jeff Hurd – Frisch’s Republican opponent in November – declined to weigh in.

“On the presidential race, Jeff’s been consistent in all of his statements. He’s going to be focused exclusively on the district and talking about the issues there,” Hurd campaign spokesman Nick Bayer said. “We don’t have a comment on [the presidential race].”

The Colorado Democratic Party remains firmly behind the incumbent president.

“For the sake of Colorado families and our country, Donald Trump cannot win in November,” Colorado Democratic Party Chair Shad Murib wrote in an email in response to the Frisch statement. “Last week, Donald Trump lied continuously to voters and refused to commit to accepting the results of the 2024 election. Meanwhile, President Biden proved that he’s the only candidate in this race with a proven track record of improving the lives of Coloradans by lowering costs, creating jobs, and fighting for our freedoms. We must unite behind President Biden, Vice President Harris, and their vision of moving America forward.”

Frisch was asked about Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that presidents enjoy immunity from prosecution for crimes committed as “official acts” in the White House and whether that gave him any pause in calling for Biden to get out of the race as Trump faces federal charges related to the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

“I’ve heard from a lot of independents and Republicans who, for a variety of reasons, they’re going be voting for Donald Trump but do not want an unfettered Donald Trump,” Frisch said. “And so they will be looking at possible candidates in the Senate or House to offset Trump, because most people actually want to see checks and balances as the founders set up.”

To some degree, Frisch understands what the High Court was trying to accomplish.

“I certainly believe that presidents of either party are going to deserve some type of immunity when they make decisions, otherwise they’ll be hamstrung on making official decisions that are not completely popular,” Frisch said. “Having said that, January 6th was a horrible day for our country without a doubt, and to call these people arrested political prisoners [as Trump has done] is a slap in the face to real political prisoners that are American citizens being held overseas.”