Top fundraiser George Clooney abandons Biden: ‘The dam has broken’

(The Hill) -- George Clooney, who just last month hosted a star-studded fundraiser for Joe Biden's campaign, is reversing course, saying Democrats are "not going to win in November with this president."

"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," the "Ticket to Paradise" star, one of Hollywood's most prominent Democratic supporters, said in an editorial published Wednesday in The New York Times. 

"But the one battle he cannot win is the fight against time. None of us can," Clooney wrote of the 81-year-old commander-in-chief.

Last month, Clooney joined former President Barack Obama and actor Julia Roberts for a buzzy and record-breaking Los Angeles fundraiser for Biden's campaign. The event raised $30 million.

But in his New York Times essay, Clooney acknowledged that he observed a difference in Biden at the glitzy fundraiser.

"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 wrote. 

Biden's shaky performance, which critics and some allies described as "disastrous," in his debate last month against former President Donald Trump in Atlanta renewed concerns about his age and viability as the Democratic presidential candidate. Several House Democrats have called on Biden to exit the White House race — an idea that he's repeatedly rejected.

"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. We’re all so terrified by the prospect of a second Trump term that we’ve opted to ignore every warning sign," Clooney, 63, said.

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"Is it fair to point these things out? It has to be. This is about age. Nothing more. But also nothing that can be reversed," the Academy Award winner said.

"We are not going to win in November with this president. On top of that, we won’t win the House, and we’re going to lose the Senate," he said, citing "the opinion of every senator and congress member and governor" that he said he had spoken with privately. 

"We love to talk about how the Republican Party has ceded all power, and all of the traits that made it so formidable with Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, to a single person who seeks to hold on to the presidency, and yet most of our members of Congress are opting to wait and see if the dam breaks," Clooney said.

"But the dam has broken," he said.

"We can put our heads in the sand and pray for a miracle in November, or we can speak the truth."

Reached for comment, Biden's campaign pointed to his earlier remarks indicating he has no intention of dropping out of the race.

"It is disingenuous, at best, to argue that Democrats have already spoken with their vote and therefore the nomination is settled and done, when we just received new and upsetting information," Clooney said.

The entertainer argued that top Democrats, including Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.) and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) "need to ask this president to voluntarily step aside."

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

Biden, Clooney wrote, "is a hero; he saved democracy in 2020."

"We need him to do it again in 2024," he said.

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