Biden’s bruising day sinks hopes Democrats will move on

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Actor George Clooney has emerged as a vocal critic of President Joe Biden’s re-election bid, delivering a damning assessment in a recent New York Times op-ed. Clooney’s critique, described as potentially devastating, has amplified existing concerns within the Democratic Party about Biden’s candidacy, overshadowing recent endorsements from key figures like the Congressional Black Caucus and liberal lawmakers.

The backdrop to this unfolding drama includes Biden’s recent efforts to regain political momentum following a turbulent period. Initially buoyed by endorsements, the president’s campaign appeared to be stabilizing, especially amidst the backdrop of a high-profile NATO summit in Washington.

However, the narrative swiftly shifted as Democratic voices, including Vermont Senator Peter Welch, publicly called on Biden to withdraw from the race for what they perceive as the greater good of the country. Welch’s op-ed marked a significant moment, making him the first Democratic senator to advocate for Biden’s exit. The increasing chorus of dissent poses a critical challenge for Biden, particularly ahead of pivotal events like his press conference following the NATO summit and an upcoming interview with NBC’s Lester Holt.

Clooney’s indictment of Biden’s candidacy is particularly potent, drawing from his recent personal interaction with the president at a Los Angeles fundraiser. In his op-ed, Clooney asserts that the Biden of today is a far cry from the figure seen in past decades, and casts doubt on Biden’s ability to defeat Donald Trump in the upcoming election. He questions the campaign’s narrative of broad Democratic support, suggesting it lacks sincerity and could undermine the party’s electoral prospects.

The Biden campaign has swiftly responded to Clooney’s criticism, highlighting the president’s strenuous schedule and international commitments, such as attending the fundraiser immediately after a lengthy trip from the G7 summit in Italy. Campaign officials also noted recent policy disagreements between Biden and Clooney over Gaza, suggesting the timing of the op-ed may have been strategically aimed for maximum impact.

Clooney’s stature as a prominent Democratic fundraiser and his deep ties within Hollywood and California’s influential donor base underscore the gravity of his remarks. His critique coincides with expressions of dissatisfaction from other major Democratic donors, including Reed Hastings of Netflix and Barry Diller of IAC, reflecting broader discontent within the party’s financial backers.

Clooney’s alignment with former President Barack Obama further amplifies his influence and raises questions about broader Democratic sentiment towards Biden’s candidacy. His decision to publicly rebuke the sitting president suggests a calculated move likely endorsed by significant figures within the party.

President Trump, reveling in the Democratic turmoil, has capitalized on Clooney’s critique to bolster his own narrative against Biden, branding both as unreliable figures. This adds further pressure on Biden as he navigates internal party discord and external Republican attacks.

Nancy Pelosi’s cautious stance earlier in the day, refraining from a full endorsement of Biden’s re-election bid and urging patience until after the NATO summit, underscores the delicate balance within Democratic leadership. Pelosi’s call for Biden to make a swift decision about his campaign future was echoed by Virginia Senator Tim Kaine and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, reflecting a growing sentiment that Biden must consider the broader implications of his candidacy.

The coming days are pivotal for Biden, with his press conference and upcoming interview serving as critical tests of his ability to address mounting criticism and reaffirm his leadership. The evolving narrative surrounding Biden’s candidacy highlights deep divisions within the Democratic Party and raises fundamental questions about its electoral strategy heading into the next presidential cycle.

Biden navigates these challenges, the path forward remains uncertain. Clooney’s intervention has injected fresh uncertainty into an already turbulent political landscape, underscoring the high stakes for Biden and the Democratic Party as they prepare for a contentious election battle ahead. The president’s response in the days ahead will be closely scrutinized, as Democrats and observers alike await clarity on the future of his campaign and its implications for the party’s electoral prospects.

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