News

Published July 10, 2024

Actor George Clooney, a high-profile Biden supporter and fundraiser, asks president to leave race

By Meg Kinnard
George Clooney - AP
FILE - President Joe Biden shakes hands with actor, director and producer George Clooney during the Kennedy Center honorees reception at the White House in Washington, Dec. 4, 2022. Movie star and lifelong Democrat George Clooney is adding his voice to calls for Joe Biden to leave the presidential race. Clooney says in a New York Times opinion piece Wednesday that he loves Biden, but the party would lose the presidential race as well as any control in Congress with him as the nominee. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Movie star and lifelong Democrat George Clooney added his voice to calls for Joe Biden to leave the presidential race on Wednesday, just weeks after headlining a fundraiser that brought in a record single-night haul for the president's reelection campaign.

Clooney said in a New York Times opinion piece that he loves Biden, but the party would lose the presidential race as well as any control in Congress with him as the nominee.

“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,” wrote Clooney. He's hosted several high-dollar Hollywood fundraisers, including for Biden last month.

Clooney argued the party should pick a new nominee at its convention next month, saying the process would be “messy” but “wake up” voters in the party’s favour, mentioning Vice President Kamala Harris and Govs. Wes Moore of Maryland, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Gavin Newsom of California among those from who the country should now hear.

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Focusing much of his piece around Biden's age, Clooney noted differences he saw in the 81-year-old president during their recent Los Angeles event compared to years past.

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

Last month, Clooney, Julia Roberts and Barbra Streisand were among those who took the stage for a fundraiser that took in a record $30 million-plus for Biden, in hopes of energizing would-be supporters for a White House contest they said may rank among the most consequential in U.S. history.

Luminaries from the entertainment world have increasingly lined up to help Biden’s campaign. Leading up to the fundraiser, Clooney's name appeared on numerous fundraising missives from the campaign, which he called “the fight of our lives.”

Representatives for Clooney did not immediately return a message seeking comment on insight into his decision, when precisely he had made it or how recently he had spoken with Biden.

Biden has refused to end his reelection bid after his weak debate performance against presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump on June 27.

Kinnard reported from Chapin, South Carolina

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