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George Clooney calls for President Biden to exit race weeks after hosting record-breaking fundraiser

Clooney, a lifelong Democrat and longtime fundraiser, joins a chorus of others calling for the president to step aside after his shaky debate performance last month.
The Edge
Gladys Knight
George Clooney
Posted at 1:37 PM, Jul 10, 2024

Just weeks ago, actor George Clooney headlined a record-breaking fundraiser for President Joe Biden's reelection campaign. Today, he's calling for the nation's leader to exit the presidential race.

In a New York Times op-ed published Wednesday, Clooney wrote of his love for the president in his position now, as the former vice president, a former senator and as his friend. But despite the "lifelong Democrat" still saying "I believe in him," he doesn't believe the president can win in November.

"In the last four years, he's won many of the battles he's faced. But the one battle he cannot win is the fight against time," Clooney wrote. "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-ing deal' Biden of 2010. He wasn't even the Joe Biden of 2020. He was the same man we all witnessed at the debate."

President Biden and his campaign have insisted his shaky debate performance against presumptive Republican presidential nominee former President Donald Trump last month was just a "bad night" compounded by his having a cold, as he told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos in his first post-debate TV interview.

But Clooney is now just one of a chorus of big-name voices — including author Stephen King, Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings, director Rob Reiner and Abigail Disney — who aren't convinced the Democrat can beat the Republican choice. At least eight members of Congress have agreed, and Clooney says even more are holding their tongue.

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"We are not going to win in November with this president. On top of that, we won't win the House, and we're going to lose the Senate," he wrote. "This isn't only my opinion; this is 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."

Clooney insisted his call is "about age. Nothing more," while asking top Democrats like Chuck Schumer, Hakeem Jeffries and Nancy Pelosi to ask President Biden to "voluntarily step aside." He then mentioned Vice President Kamala Harris, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and California Gov. Gavin Newsom as possible replacements that could be chosen at the party's convention next month.

"Would it be messy? Yes. Democracy is messy. But would it enliven our party and wake up voters who, long before the June debate, had already checked out? It sure would," Clooney wrote.

A replacement situation would prove to be an about-face for the Biden administration and his political allies. Earlier this week, the president sent a letter to congressional Democrats acknowledging the concerns of everyone from party leaders to voters, but vowed to stay in the race.

"I can respond to all this by saying clearly and unequivocally: I wouldn’t be running again if I did not absolutely believe I was the best person to beat Donald Trump in 2024," the letter said.