George Clooney has called on Joe Biden to drop out of the presidential race

image source, Good pictures

image caption, Clooney said the Democrats would not win with Mr Biden in November

  • author, Brandon Drennan and Bernd Debusman at the NATO summit
  • stock, BBC News, Washington

George Clooney has made a scathing call for Joe Biden to drop out of the US presidential race, hours after veteran Democrat Nancy Pelosi deflected a question about whether he should continue.

The Hollywood actor and prominent Democratic fundraiser said the president has won many battles in his career, “but the one battle he can’t win is the fight against time.”

Her comments came after Ms Pelosi, a former House speaker, joined growing confusion in the party by saying Mr Biden, 81, was “running low” on whether to stay in the race after his faltering debate against Donald Trump.

The president has repeatedly indicated that he will remain the Democratic nominee and defeat the 78-year-old Trump in November.

Clooney wrote The New York Times “It’s devastating to say,” but the Joe Biden he met at a fundraiser three weeks ago is not the Biden of 2010. “He’s not even 2020’s Joe Biden,” the actor added.

“He’s the same man we all saw in the debate,” Clooney said.

The fundraising event, co-hosted by Clooney in Los Angeles and attended by Julia Roberts and Barbra Streisand, brought in a single-night record of around $30m (£23m) for the Biden campaign.

The president’s campaign also pointed out that while he attended the fundraiser, he arrived in Los Angeles from Italy, where he attended the G7 summit.

Clooney said in his post: “Our party leaders need to stop telling us that 51 million people didn’t see what we saw.”

“It’s about age. Nothing more,” he continued. We are not going to win in November with this president.

Clooney added that his concerns resonated with “every” member of Congress he spoke to.

Asked to respond, Mr Biden’s campaign said in a letter the president sent to Democrats in Congress that he was “committed” to his candidacy and defeating Trump.

However, public discord within Mr Biden’s party continues to grow as he hosts the NATO summit in Washington.

Ms. Pelosi, the most influential voice among Democrats on Capitol Hill, appeared to ignore Mr. Biden’s insistence on Wednesday.

Asked if he wanted to stay in the race, he told MSNBC’s Morning Joe: “I want him to do whatever he decides.

“It’s up to the president to decide if he’s going to run. Time is running out, and we all encourage him to make that decision.”

Acknowledging the president’s demands during a NATO summit, Ms. Pelosi told MSNBC: “I told everybody — let’s stop.

“Whatever you think, tell somebody privately, but you don’t have to put it on the table until you see how we’re doing this week. But I’m very proud of the president.”

On Tuesday night, Michelle Bennett of Colorado became the first Democratic senator to publicly disavow.

While he did not call for Mr Biden to drop out entirely, he said Mr Trump would win the election, perhaps by a “landslide”.

On Wednesday afternoon, Vermont’s Peter Welch became the first Senate Democrat to publicly call on Mr. Biden to withdraw “for the good of the country,” as he wrote in a Washington Post op-ed.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, told reporters he was “deeply concerned” about Mr Biden’s ability to win the election.

Congressman Pat Ryan of New York told the New York Times earlier in the day: “For the good of our country, for the sake of my two young children, I’m asking Joe Biden to step aside.”

The Biden campaign repeated the president’s claim that he would “run this race to the end.”

Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries plans to meet with Mr Biden by Friday to discuss the concerns brought up by several members of Congress.

However, overall support among elected Democrats remains strong.

California Governor Gavin Newsom, named as a possible replacement by Clooney, said he was still “all in” with Mr Biden.

The Congressional Black Caucus, about 60 politicians and progressive House members such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have publicly endorsed Mr Biden.

On Tuesday, Chuck Schumer, the leading Democrat in the Senate, said: “I’m with Joe.” However, Axios reports that Mr Schumer has been privately telling donors that he is ready to oust Mr Biden.

One of the sources said all interests had reached “almost consensus” about what Mr Biden should do.

Questions about the Democratic campaign also swirled at the NATO summit in Washington, DC.

video title, Nancy Pelosi said it was the president’s decision to proceed
video title, Biden ignores questions from reporters during meeting with Starmer

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said he believes the United States will remain a committed member of the alliance, regardless of who sits in the White House next year, whether Mr Biden or NATO skeptic Mr Trump.

At a news conference, the BBC asked Mr Stoltenberg whether the 32 members of the coalition shared his hopes, despite concerns about Mr Biden’s candidacy.

“I’m not saying we can always ignore concerns,” Mr Stoltenberg said. “But as dangerous as the world is, it’s clear that we need NATO.”

He added: “It is in the interest of all of us to stand together. That goes for America.”

Mr Biden will give a rare solo news conference on Thursday and tape an interview with NBC News on Monday, which will air in the evening.

In the swing state of Pennsylvania on Wednesday, Democratic voters who spoke to the BBC had mixed feelings about Mr Biden.

Karen Gilchrist in Harrisburg said she was firmly behind Mr Biden because “he knows what he’s talking about”.

But in Elizabethtown, Melissa Nash, working on her laptop in a cafe, said: “I’m torn because I’m not a fan of Trump, but at the same time you need someone strong to lead the country.”

Additional reporting by Rebecca Hartman in Pennsylvania

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