George Clooney Urges His Friend Joe Biden to ‘Save Democracy’ by Exiting 2024 Race: ‘One Battle He Cannot Win’

The two-time Oscar winner, who headlined a lucrative Biden fundraiser in June, writes in an essay that a new Democratic ticket could "enliven" the party at a critical moment

<p>Neil P. Mockford/Getty, Andrew Harnik/Getty</p> George Clooney and Joe Biden

Neil P. Mockford/Getty, Andrew Harnik/Getty

George Clooney and Joe Biden

George Clooney publicly pulled his support for Joe Biden’s 2024 presidential campaign on Wednesday, July 10, urging the White House to consider the impact of keeping him on the ballot.

The liberal actor, 63, penned a passionate essay for The New York Times, in which he argues that Biden should quickly exit the 2024 race for the good of his own party. Clooney cites troublesome poll numbers suggesting that Americans lack confidence in Biden following his frail performance in the June 27 presidential debate against Donald Trump.

In the article, Clooney calls himself a "lifelong Democrat" and reminds readers that he co-hosted the Biden campaign's star-studded Hollywood fundraiser only a few weeks ago, which he noted was the "single largest fund-raiser supporting any Democratic candidate ever."

"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," Clooney said, "He was the same man we all witnessed at the debate."

Related: First 2024 Presidential Debate Recap: Joe Biden Sparks Concerns, Donald Trump Lies

Rich Polk/Getty Images George Clooney
Rich Polk/Getty Images George Clooney

Clooney expressed his personal fondness for the current president, writing, "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.”

However, the two-time Oscar winner said that "the one battle he cannot win is the fight against time,” referencing the 81-year-old's age, which remains a top concern to voters.

Addressing Biden's weak debate performance specifically, the actor said, "Our party leaders need to stop telling us that 51 million people didn’t see what we just saw. We’re all so terrified by the prospect of a second Trump term that we’ve opted to ignore every warning sign."

He added that Biden’s primetime interview with George Stephanopoulos on July 5 — which the White House hoped would revive his candidacy — "only reinforced what we saw the week before."

Related: Joe Biden Admits He 'Screwed Up' During Presidential Debate but Isn't Dropping Out: 'I Had a Bad Night'

<p>Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty</p> Joe Biden

Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty

Joe Biden

Clooney called upon leading Democrats — specifically naming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — to put pressure on Biden to "voluntarily step aside." (Within hours of the essay's publication, Politico reported that Jeffries told House Democrats he would relay their concerns to Biden.)

According to Clooney, "every single" lawmaker he's spoken with has said that they worry Biden will not only lose in November, but that he will hurt Democratic candidates down the ballot and potentially give Republicans full control of Congress. Clooney suggested that some of the skeptical Democrats he's spoken with are still publicly backing Biden.

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Later in his essay, Clooney expressed optimism for the future of the political party if Biden steps aside, writing, "We can easily foresee a group of several strong Democrats stepping forward to stand and tell us why they’re best qualified to lead this country and take on some of the deeply concerning trends we’re seeing from the revenge tour that Donald Trump calls a presidential campaign."

The clock is ticking with the Democratic National Convention beginning on Aug. 19 — during which time the party will formally nominate its candidate — but Clooney insists that there’s still time to "hear from Wes Moore and Kamala Harris and Gretchen Whitmer and Gavin Newsom and Andy Beshear and J.B. Pritzker and others" who have been named as possible replacements.

Related: Can Joe Biden Be Replaced on the Democratic Ticket? What the DNC Rules Say About Switching Nominees

Clooney also requested that Democrats stay united if the ticket sees a switch-up, writing, "Let’s agree that the candidates not attack one another but, in the short time we have, focus on what will make this country soar. Then we could go into the Democratic convention next month and figure it out."

The actor suggested that Biden stepping aside could "enliven our party" and "wake up voters" who have "checked out."

Clooney concluded the essay by expressing gratitude for the president — and a plea: "Joe Biden is a hero; he saved democracy in 2020. We need him to do it again in 2024."

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris walk to the Oval Office after a 2022 event at the White House Rose Garden
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris walk to the Oval Office after a 2022 event at the White House Rose Garden

Clooney’s essay comes as a slow trickle of liberal lawmakers break from the president. As of Wednesday afternoon, eight Democratic members of Congress have publicly called for Biden to drop out of the race, and many more have expressed doubts — including Pelosi, who has cautiously suggested that there's reason to be skeptical of Biden's candidacy.

Several celebrities seem to share Clooney's fears, with author Stephen King writing on social media earlier this week, “Joe 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.”

Emmy winner Rob Reiner praised Clooney for his essay, writing on social media, “My friend George Clooney has clearly expressed what many of us have been saying. We love and respect Joe Biden. We acknowledge all he has done for our country. But Democracy is facing an existential threat. We need someone younger to fight back. Joe Biden must step aside.”

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