‘We are not going to win with this president’: George Clooney implores Joe Biden to step aside

Actor wrote article saying Democrat not the man he was in 2020 and needs to stand aside or face defeat by Trump

Actor George Clooney said US president Joe Biden has won many battles but nobody can defeat time. Photograph: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Actor George Clooney, one of the Democratic party’s biggest fundraisers, has called on US president Joe Biden to step aside from the upcoming election to save democracy from Donald Trump.

In an opinion article in the New York Times, Clooney expressed deep affection for the US president but said that personal interaction with him at a recent fundraising event in Los Angeles – the Democratic party’s most successful ever, raising more than $30 million (€27.7 million) – suggested that the stumbling performance in last month’s debate in Atlanta was not an aberration.

“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,” the actor and longtime Democratic party member and fundraiser wrote.

“He wasn’t even the Joe Biden of 2020. He was the same man we all witnessed at the debate.


“Was he tired? Yes. A cold? Maybe. But our party leaders need to stop telling us that 51 million people didn’t see what we just saw,” he said, referring to explanations from the White House and Mr Biden himself for his bad debate performance.

More bluntly, he said explicitly that Mr Biden could not prevail in an electoral rematch with Mr Trump: “We are not going to win with this president.”

Stressing that his call was made reluctantly, Clooney paid tribute to the political battles that Mr Biden had won throughout his career but said his age represented an insurmountable adversary. “But the one battle he cannot win is the fight against time. None of us can,” he wrote.

Clooney’s plea came as Mr Biden continues to insist on staying in the race while senior Democrats agonise about how to apply pressure on him to change his mind, and serious questions continue over Biden’s health and viability for reelection.

The actor called on leading party figures to come off the fence and make the case to Mr Biden, while dismissing as “disingenuous” the president’s argument – stated in a letter to Democrats in Congress this week – that the party’s membership had already chosen the nominee in the primaries.

“Most of our members of Congress are opting to wait and see if the dam breaks,” he wrote in remarks clearly critical of continuing inaction. “But the dam has broken. We can put our heads in the sand and pray for a miracle in November, or we can speak the truth.”

He concluded: “Joe Biden is a hero; he saved democracy in 2020. We need him to do it again in 2024.”

Clooney’s intervention comes weeks after a disagreement with the White House over Mr Biden’s criticism of the international criminal court’s move to issue an arrest warrant for Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, over allegations of war crimes in Gaza.

The actor’s wife, Amal Alamuddin Clooney, worked on the case. Clooney called Steve Ricchetti, the president’s counsel, to complain about Mr Biden’s labeling the warrant as “outrageous”. Shortly afterwards, however, Clooney appeared at the hugely successful fundraising event in Los Angeles for the campaign, which was headlined by Mr Biden and fomer US president Barack Obama. - Guardian