George Clooney says Biden must drop out to save democracy

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Actor George Clooney published an opinion piece in the New York Times Wednesday calling on President Joe Biden to drop out of the presidential race, saying Democrats have “opted to ignore every warning sign” and Biden could save democracy by dropping out—joining a number of other Democratic celebrities who have stopped backing the president.
American Film Institute's 46th Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute to George Clooney - Arrivals

In an opinion piece published in the New York Times, lifelong Democrat George Clooney said Biden is not the man he was just four years ago and called on him to leave the presidential race.

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Key Takeaways
  • Clooney said while Biden has “won many of the battles he’s faced,” he cannot win “the fight against time,” adding he considers Biden a friend but the president is no longer “the Joe ‘big F-ing deal’ Biden of 2010.”
  • “Our party leaders need to stop telling us that 51 million people didn’t see what we just saw,” Clooney wrote, referring to Biden’s poor debate performance nearly two weeks ago.
  • On Monday, author Stephen King said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Biden has “been a fine president, but it’s time for him—in the interests of the America he so clearly loves—to announce he will not run for re-election.”
  • Actor Rob Reiner also rescinded his support for Biden on Monday, saying in a post on X Biden has “effectively served US with honor, decency and dignity,” but it’s time for him to step down, adding: “if the Convicted Felon wins, we lose our Democracy.”
  • Filmmaker, activist and Disney heiress Abigail Disney said last week in a statement to CNBC she is sure Democrats will lose in November if Biden runs against former President Donald Trump and she will not donate any more to the party “unless and until they replace Biden at the top of the ticket.”
  • Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings—who donated around $1.5 million to support Biden in his first campaign and $100,000 last summer—called on Biden to step down in a New York Times article on July 3, saying “Biden needs to step aside to allow a vigorous Democratic leader to beat Trump and keep us safe and prosperous.”
Crucial Quote

“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 wrote.

Big Number

$28 million. That’s how much the Biden campaign said Clooney helped them raise at a star-studded Los Angeles fundraiser he co-hosted just last month. Among the guests and speakers were former President Barack Obama, Jimmy Kimmel and Julia Roberts.

Tangent

Though he has been a staunch supporter of Biden throughout his first campaign and term, Clooney did butt heads with the president earlier this year over his criticism of the International Criminal Court’s decision to request arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and defence minister Yoav Gallant—which Clooney’s wife, Amal Cloonery, reportedly worked on. Biden called the request “outrageous” and said the warrants did “nothing to help, and could jeopardize, ongoing efforts to reach a ceasefire.”

The Washington Post reported George Clooney took issue with Biden’s use of the word “outrageous” and called a counselor to the president, to express concern.

Key Background

After a rocky debate performance against Trump in late June, calls for Biden to leave the race began coming in and have continued to increase. While debating, Biden appeared to lose his train of thought a number of times, sounded weak and corrected himself at points, worsening fears about the president’s age and ability to govern for another four years.

Biden acknowledged the poor performance, saying at a rally the next day: “I know I’m not a young man, to state the obvious … I don’t debate as well as I used to.” He has continued to resist calls for him to drop out, reportedly telling campaign staff in a call “I’m in this race to the end” and telling Democratic lawmakers in a letter he has had “extensive conversations” to hear concerns, but that he “wouldn’t be running again if I did not absolutely believe I was the best person to beat Donald Trump in 2024.”

This article was first published on forbes.com and all figures are in USD.

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