George Clooney, who co-hosted recent Biden fundraiser, says president should step aside

"One battle he cannot win is the fight against time," Clooney wrote of Biden.

ByWill McDuffie ABCNews logo
Wednesday, July 10, 2024 9:33PM
George Clooney says President Biden should step aside
Actor George Clooney called for President Joe Biden to exit the 2024 presidential race in a New York Times op-ed published Wednesday.

Actor George Clooney, who just weeks ago hosted a fundraiser for President Joe Biden's reelection campaign, called for the president to exit the 2024 race in a New York Times op-ed published Wednesday.

"I love Joe Biden. As a senator. As a vice president and as president. I consider him a friend, and I believe in him. Believe in his character. Believe in his morals. In the last four years, he's won many of the battles he's faced," Clooney wrote.

"But the one battle he cannot win is the fight against time. None of us can. 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."

Clooney's comments go against Biden's claims that the debate was just one "bad night" or a "bad episode," as he told ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos in Biden's first post-debate television interview.

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Also, the stinging language lands Clooney among the growing chorus of Democrats -- from elected officials to high-profile donors -- asking the president to allow another, younger nominee to lead the Democratic Party's ticket.

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

"The short ramp to Election Day would be a benefit for us, not a danger," Clooney continued. "It would give us the chance to showcase the future without so much opposition research and negative campaigning that comes with these ridiculously long and expensive election seasons."

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.
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.
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

A Biden campaign official did not respond directly to the op-ed, but pointed ABC News to Biden's recent comments insisting he is remaining in the race, including his Monday letter to Democratic lawmakers where he said he's "firmly committed" to staying in the race to the end.

Biden praised Clooney's character at a 2022 White House reception for the Kennedy Center Honorees -- a group that included Clooney.

"One thing I respect most about George -- and I mean this sincerely -- is his deep empathy," Biden said, adding that "he always remembers where he came from."

After describing Clooney's advocacy work, including on guns, Biden said, "He knows the work remains unfinished, yet he is unrelenting and undaunted. That's character in real life. And that's George Clooney."

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ABC News' Chris Donovan contributed to this report.