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George Clooney and celebrities call for Biden to withdraw from the 2024 presidential race

George Clooney and celebrities call for Biden to withdraw from the 2024 presidential race

George Clooney on Wednesday called on President Biden to drop out of the 2024 presidential race. and called on Democrats to select a new candidate.

The Oscar winner’s defection joins a wave of outrage from prominent Democrats calling for the 81-year-old Biden to resign after his halting and confused performance in the June 27 presidential debate against 78-year-old Donald Trump, who has long claimed that Biden is mentally unfit to lead the country.

Clooney’s criticism is particularly notable because he was one of Biden’s biggest and most prominent supporters in Hollywood – a key base for the president that now appears to be faltering.

“I love Joe Biden. As a senator. As vice president and as president,” Clooney wrote in a New York Times op-ed. “I consider him a friend and I believe in him.”

“But the only battle he can’t win is the battle against time,” he added. “… It’s devastating to have to say this, but the Joe Biden I was with at the fundraiser three weeks ago 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 saw at the debate.”

Simon Halls, a representative for Clooney, declined to comment.

Clooney added that Democrats were so focused on defeating Trump in the upcoming election that they ignored “every warning sign” about the president’s age. He said Biden’s performance at the debate, as well as his ABC interview with George Stephanopoulos, had raised fears that Democrats would not control the White House, Senate or House of Representatives next year.

“It’s about age. That’s all,” Clooney wrote. “But it’s also not something that can be reversed. We’re not going to win in November with this president.”

Although Clooney did not name a specific candidate to succeed Biden, he pointed to Vice President Harris and a number of Democratic governors (such as Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Gavin Newsom of California) as possible candidates.

Clooney’s criticism on Wednesday did not come entirely out of the blue. In May, the actor called one of Biden’s top advisers to complain about Biden’s condemnation of the International Criminal Court’s actions against Israeli politicians. Clooney’s wife, Amal Clooney, was involved in the case. The call raised fears among some Biden aides that Clooney might pull out of a fundraiser attended by former President Barack Obama, late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel and actress Julia Roberts. The event, where Kimmel interviewed Biden and Obama, reportedly raised more than $30 million, according to the Associated Press.

Biden has firmly rejected calls from Washington “elites” to step down since the presidential debate against Trump last month, but the outcry from celebrities who have been major supporters of his fundraising efforts is increasing public and financial pressure – and could intensify further.

“I think that’s a valid objection,” actor Michael Douglas, who hosted a fundraiser for Biden in April, said on “The View” on Wednesday about Clooney’s comment. “I’m deeply concerned.” He did not, however, call on Biden to drop out of the race.

He added that Biden’s “difficulties with the debate” could have easily been avoided. “First of all, they should have just told the president to stand up, put on a little makeup … and then where to look,” he said. “… And don’t get caught up in all your facts, just get caught up in (Trump’s) lies.”

Actor and filmmaker Rob Reiner also supported Clooney’s comment in a post shared on X.

“My friend George Clooney has clearly expressed what many of us have been saying. We love and respect Joe Biden,” Reiner wrote. “We appreciate all he has done for our country. But democracy is facing an existential threat. We need someone younger to step up and fight back. Joe Biden must resign.”

Other Hollywood stars who have lost confidence in Biden include CBS’ “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert, Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings, filmmaker Michael Moore, actor John Cusack and author Stephen King.

“Joe Biden has been a good president, but it’s time for him – for the sake of the America he so obviously loves – to announce that he will not run for re-election,” King wrote on X.

correction

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated when George Clooney called one of President Biden’s top advisers. It was in May, not June. The article has been corrected.