Joe Biden

George Clooney floats JB Pritzker as candidate in op-ed calling for Biden to step aside

Clooney also name-checked several governors, including Kentucky's Andy Beshear, and VP Kamala Harris

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Amid the ongoing furor over the future of President Joe Biden’s reelection candidacy, Hollywood star and major Democratic donor George Clooney is calling for Biden to stand aside, and he floated Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker as a potential contender for the ticket.

In an op-ed published in the New York Times, Clooney also said the party should hear from Vice President Kamala Harris, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and several others as they evaluate whether to proceed with Biden as the nominee.

“Let’s hear from Wes Moore and Kamala Harris and Gretchen Whitmer and Gavin Newsom and Andy Beshear and JB Pritzker and others,” Clooney said.

Pritzker, speaking after an event announcing new investments in public safety initiatives in Chicago, chuckled when asked about Clooney’s seeming endorsement, and echoed his belief that Biden is the best candidate for the party in 2024.

“I’m supporting Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for president. I’m going to work my tail off to make sure that they win,” he said.

The Illinois governor has been an active fundraiser for Democrats, and will appear as the keynote speaker at events in both Indiana and Ohio this week as he continues to build his national profile.

Clooney went on to say that Biden should step aside for the good of the future of democracy in the U.S., and dismissed concerns that a change this far into campaign season would be harmful to Democrats.

President Joe Biden addressed world leaders at a NATO summit Tuesday amid calls for him to withdraw from the upcoming presidential election, NBC Chicago's Mary Ann Ahern reports.

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

Pritzker says that the debate over Biden’s candidacy is understandable, but emphasized that Democrats are united in common purpose to retain the White House and to defeat Trump in November.

“He’s made his decision. All of the people you’ve heard from want to defeat Donald Trump,” he said.

Biden has actively dismissed calls to stand aside as the Democratic party’s nominee for president since his performance in a late June debate against former President and presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump. He has gotten backing from many members of Congress, including all but one of Illinois’ Congressional Democrats, but is still facing growing rancor within party ranks.

Still, the questions are flying a little more than one month before the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was measured in her remarks when asked about Biden’s ongoing candidacy.

“It’s up to the president to decide if he’s going to run,” the former speaker said.

Only one U.S. representative from Illinois has publicly said President Joe Biden should not be the Democratic nominee. However, on Monday, more health questions surfaced as The New York Times revealed a Parkinson’s expert has visited the White House. NBC Chicago's Political Reporter Mary Ann Ahern reports.

Vermont Sen. Peter Welch became the first Democratic Senator to call for Biden to stand aside, doing so in an op-ed in the Washington Post on Wednesday.

“For the good of the country, I’m calling on President Biden to withdraw from the race,” he said.

Numerous other members of the Senate have encouraged Biden to stay in the race, including Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Delaware Sen. Chris Coons.

Biden has also continued to keep a vigorous schedule in the days and weeks following the debate, hosting the NATO Summit this week and sitting down for full-length interviews with numerous media outlets, including NBC News’ Lester Holt.

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