President Joe Biden delivered a forceful speech at the NATO summit in Washington on Tuesday, pledging unwavering support for Ukraine against Russia's invasion. The address aimed to reassure allies and demonstrate Biden's capability to lead, despite mounting concerns over his age and recent debate performance.

"Putin wants nothing less than Ukraine's total subjugation," Biden stated, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin. "Ukraine can and will stop Putin." Framed by the historic setting of the federal hall where NATO's founding treaty was signed, Biden spoke with conviction, seeking to turn the page on a difficult period in his presidency.

The backdrop of the summit underscored Biden's commitment to international alliances, a cornerstone of his foreign policy. However, the president's recent struggles have not gone unnoticed. His debate performance on June 27 sparked a wave of criticism, with some Democrats questioning his viability as the party's candidate in the 2024 election.

In his speech, Biden highlighted NATO's strength, asserting, "Today NATO is stronger than it's ever been in its history." This assertion was underscored by the presence of NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Biden for his role in revitalizing the alliance.

The summit's centerpiece focused on new commitments of military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized that the summit would "further strengthen" Ukraine's path to NATO membership. Biden, along with leaders from Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Romania, announced the delivery of additional Patriot and strategic air defense systems to Ukraine, marking a significant boost in support.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who arrived in Washington on Tuesday, expressed gratitude for the support. "We are fighting for additional security guarantees for Ukraine - and these are weapons and finances, political support," he said on social media. Zelenskyy aims for Ukraine to join NATO to prevent future Russian aggression, but unanimous approval from NATO members is required.

The summit also served as a platform for Biden to counter criticisms from former President Donald Trump. Without mentioning Trump by name, Biden highlighted that the number of NATO countries meeting the defense spending target of 2% of GDP had increased from nine to 23 since Trump left office. "Remaining countries that have not reached that milestone will get there soon," Biden declared.

Trump has previously suggested that he might not defend NATO members under attack if they do not meet the spending target and has questioned the level of aid provided to Ukraine. Biden's remarks were a clear rebuttal, emphasizing the alliance's unity and commitment.

Despite Biden's efforts, concerns about his political future persist. A seventh House Democrat, Representative Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey, publicly called for Biden to step aside, citing the high stakes of the upcoming election against Trump. "The stakes are too high - and the threat is too real - to stay silent," Sherrill said.

House and Senate Democrats have expressed a mix of support and skepticism regarding Biden's candidacy. In a private House meeting, many lawmakers voiced concerns that Biden's age could overshadow the campaign's focus on Trump. Representative Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, among those urging Biden to step down, articulated the existential anxiety felt by many Democrats.

However, some Democrats continue to back Biden, citing his leadership during crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. Representative Jerry Nadler of New York, after initially suggesting Biden should not run, now supports him, saying, "He's our candidate, and we're going to support him."

Senate Democrats, though more reticent publicly, also grapple with the issue. Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin noted her constituents' concerns about Biden's ability to win. "Everyone's looking very carefully at his performance this week," Baldwin said. Nonetheless, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York expressed confidence in Biden's ability to defeat Trump.

As Biden tries to consolidate support, he plans to hold a solo press conference to address concerns directly. The outcome of these efforts will be crucial as the Democratic Party navigates its leadership dilemma ahead of the 2024 election.

In a letter to congressional Democrats, Biden reaffirmed his commitment to running, stating, "I absolutely believe I am the best person to beat Donald Trump in 2024." His determination, paired with the strategic announcements at the NATO summit, underscores his resolve to maintain both domestic and international support in a challenging political landscape.