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George Clooney calls on Biden to drop out of presidential race

two men in black suits greet each other warmly
Manuel Balce Ceneta
/
AP
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.

Hollywood A-lister and "lifelong Democrat" George Clooney called on President Joe Biden to end his presidential campaign Wednesday in an op-ed for The New York Times. Just last month, the actor co-hosted a fundraiser supporting Biden's re-election.

"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," the Kentucky native writes. "He wasn't even the Joe Biden of 2020. He was the same man we all witnessed at the debate."

RELATED: Broadway next stop for George Clooney's passion for Edward R. Murrow

Calls for Biden to step down began after his poor performance during a June 27 debate with former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee. While "both candidates had shaky moments ... Biden's raspy voice and sometimes rambling answers likely did little to assuage critics' concerns about his age," NPR wrote at the time.

Biden is 81. Trump is 78.

It appears Clooney is in the camp of critics.

"This is about age. Nothing more," he writes. "But also nothing that can be reversed. 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. 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. Every single one, irrespective of what he or she is saying publicly."

Trump also faced questions about his mental and physical fitness for office during his term, and also has had to deal with fallout from his own speaking slip-ups. Most recently, he said on the Fourth of July that George Washington and his army won the Revolutionary War by taking control of airports from the British.

NPR is keeping track of which Democrats have publicly backed Biden over the last few weeks, as well as those who have called on him to stand down. At the time of this article's publication, it stood at 34-10 in favor of Biden continuing his campaign.

Clooney says that while such a move would be "messy" ("democracy is messy," he adds), the party could "easily foresee a group of several strong Democrats," to replace Biden, including current Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear.

RELATED: Beshear: Biden needs to 'reassure the American people'

Biden, meanwhile, has said he is "firmly committed to staying in this race."

In a recent ABC News interview, he dismissed the idea of undergoing an independent medical evaluation, including neurological and cognitive tests, to show he's fit to serve another term in office.

"I have a cognitive test every single day," Biden said. "Not only am I campaigning, but I'm running the world."

Jennifer Merritt brings 20 years of "tra-digital" journalism experience to WVXU.