Hollywood megastar Clooney turns on Biden

Hollywood megastar Clooney turns on Biden

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

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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 governors Wes Moore of Maryland, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Gavin Newsom of California among those from who the country should now hear.

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.”

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Last month, Clooney, Julia Roberts and Barbra Streisand were among those who took the stage for a fundraiser that took in a record $US30 million-plus ($44.4 million) for Biden, in hopes of energising would-be supporters for a White House contest they said may rank among the most consequential in US history.

Clooney isn’t alone in his characterisation of his recent exchange with Biden.

A person who interacted closely with Biden described the president as vibrant and engaging at a fundraiser in March but, at the Los Angeles event months later, said they noticed a notable diminishment in Biden’s presence.

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The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private interactions with the president, recalled being struck by how tired and “out of it” the president seemed during backstage conversations at the Los Angeles event, adding that they gave Biden the benefit of the doubt for not being as voluble and showing lower energy off-stage because he arrived in Los Angeles after traveling from Italy where he had attended an international summit.

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.

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