George Clooney calls on president to step aside: Aging Biden no longer the man he was

Even George Clooney — a mega donor to President Biden’s reelection campaign — appears to have lost faith in the president’s ability to win the 2024 election.

The two-time Oscar winner, lifelong Democrat and high-profile campaign donor has formally asked the 81-year-old commander in chief to step aside so that theparty can nominate a new candidate to take on former President Trump on the November ballot. Why? Because of Biden’s “fight against time,” which Clooney characterized as the only battle that POTUS cannot win.

“None of us can,” Clooney wrote Wednesday in an opinion piece for the New York Times titled “I Love Joe Biden. But We Need a New Nominee.” “It’s devastating to say it, but the Joe Biden I was with three weeks ago at the fund-raiser was not the Joe ‘big F— deal’ Biden of 2010. He wasn’t even the Joe Biden of 2020. He was the same man we all witnessed at the debate.”

Democrats took in $30 million at that downtown L.A. fundraiser, setting a record for money generated by the party in a single night. In addition to Clooney, Julia Roberts and former President Obama headlined the event and Jimmy Kimmel acted as emcee.

Clooney wrote that Biden was a “hero” who had “saved democracy” in 2020 and called upon him to “do it again in 2024.” But, citing Biden’s poor performance during CNN’s debate last month, he joined a growing number of Hollywood backers, including those who previously wrote large checks to the campaign, feeling skittish about Biden’s prospects despite the president’s resolve to remain in the race.

Some of those going public with their angst about Biden include “Lost” co-creator Damon Lindelof, Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings, Endeavor Chief Executive Ari Emanuel (brother of Rahm Emanuel, currently U.S. ambassador to Japan), media titan Barry Diller and Disney heir Abigail Disney.

The actor wondered if Biden was tired or suffering from a cold during his head-to-head with Trump. But he mostly took issue with the next-day narrative being spun by his party, arguing that Biden’s nomination was not yet a sure thing ahead of the Democratic National Convention in August. (The GOP convention starts Monday.)

“[O]ur party leaders need to stop telling us that 51 million people didn’t see what we just saw. We’re all so terrified by the prospect of a second Trump term that we’ve opted to ignore every warning sign. The George Stephanopoulos interview only reinforced what we saw the week before,” Clooney wrote. “As Democrats, we collectively hold our breath or turn down the volume whenever we see the president, who we respect, walk off Air Force One or walk back to a mic to answer an unscripted question.”

Clooney said it’s “fair” to point these things out: “This is about age. Nothing more.”

He predicted the Democrats are “not going to win in November with this president,” nor would they win the House of Representatives or retain their majority in the Senate. He said this isn’t just his opinion, but “the opinion of every senator and congress member and governor that I’ve spoken with in private. Every single one, irrespective of what he or she is saying publicly.”

“[T]he dam has broken. We can put our heads in the sand and pray for a miracle in November, or we can speak the truth,” the “Argo” and “Syriana” Academy Award winner wrote. “It is disingenuous, at best, to argue that Democrats have already spoken with their vote and therefore the nomination is settled and done, when we just received new and upsetting information. We all think Republicans should abandon their nominee now that he’s been convicted of 34 felonies.”

As such, Clooney also criticized the presumptive Republican candidate and “the revenge tour that Donald Trump calls a presidential campaign” and called for the Democrats to seriously consider potential replacements. Who? Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, Vice President Kamala Harris, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, to name a few.

“Let’s agree that the candidates not attack one another but, in the short time we have, focus on what will make this country soar. Then we could go into the Democratic convention next month and figure it out.”

It would be “messy,” he said, but “democracy is messy” and a fresh contest would “enliven our party and wake up voters who, long before the June debate, had already checked out.”

Also on Wednesday morning, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) sent a rare public signal that suggested she is trying to nudge Biden to consider dropping out of the election, telling MSNBC that it’s “up to the president to decide if he is going to run” and that “we’re all encouraging him to make that decision because time is running short.”

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