Sunday, July 14, 2024

‘Disappointed’ Michael Douglas chimes in on ailing Joe Biden’s fitness

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Michael Douglas has said it is ‘hard to imagine’ Joe Biden serving a full term if he is re-elected in November and shared he is ‘deeply, deeply’ concerned about the President’s ailing fitness.

Douglas, 79, attending the New York City premiere of his America’s Burning documentary Wednesday evening, said that although thinks Biden has ‘done an incredible job’ he worries about his future ability to lead.

The actor, who in April held a fundraiser for the President at his home, told the BBC he was disappointed at Biden’s ‘inability’ to challenge Donald Trump‘s ‘lies’ during the the car crash presidential debate. 

Douglas, admitting it would be a ‘painful, painful decision’, said that Biden ‘could’ step down as the Democratic nominee, seemingly echoing fellow actor George Clooney‘s call for the 81-year-old to drop out of the election.

Clooney, 63, on Wednesday penned a scathing editorial in the New York Times in which he alleged that Biden can’t win the ‘battle against time’ and condemned Democratic party leaders for ignoring ‘every warning sign’ of the President’s declining physical and mental health.

Michael Douglas, 79, attending the New York City premiere of his America’s Burning documentary Wednesday evening, said it is ‘hard to imagine’ Joe Biden serving a full term if he is re-elected in November and shared he is ‘deeply, deeply’ concerned about the President’s ailing fitness
President Joe Biden speaks during a dinner with NATO allies and partners in the East Room of the White House on Wednesday, July 10

Douglas, on the red carpet at his premiere Wednesday night, was asked if Biden ‘could’ and ‘should’ drop out of the race for the White House.

‘Could he? Yes, he could,’ he said. ‘Should he? It’s a painful, painful decision because I admire the man tremendously.’

The Oscar winner, mentioning how he hosted a fundraiser for Biden at his home, told the BBC: ‘I think he’s done an incredible job. But I am worried, not this week or next week, but let’s say next year.’

He said it is ‘just so hard for me to imagine a man four and a half years down the line from now, particularly in a time that is so combative, the requires someone to really be so articulate.’

Douglas added that the ‘most disappointing’ part of the first presidential debate was ‘not necessarily how he felt’, but instead Biden’s ‘inability to acknowledge all the likes that ex-President Trump was talking about’.

The Wall Street star also applauded Clooney for his op-ed, saying that celebrity calls for action ‘may help move along the politicians who have been waffling’.

Earlier Wednesday, Douglas appeared on The View to talk about America’s Burning, which focuses on the declining state of the US.

While on the show, host Joy Behar questioned him about the ongoing calls for Biden to drop out of the presidential race.  

‘This is such a tough one,’ Douglas told the panel. 

George Clooney, 63, on Wednesday penned a scathing editorial in the New York Times in which he alleged that Biden can’t win the ‘battle against time’ and condemned Democratic party leaders for ignoring ‘every warning sign’ of the President’s declining physical and mental health
Earlier Wednesday, Douglas appeared on The View to talk about America’s Burning, which focuses on the declining state of the US
Douglas, pictured on The View, told the panel: ‘I adore the guy, you know 50 years of public service, and this just happens to be one of the elections that’s so crucial. I don’t worry necessarily today or tomorrow but a year down the line…I worry. I am concerned’

‘I adore the guy, you know 50 years of public service, and this just happens to be one of the elections that’s so crucial. I don’t worry necessarily today or tomorrow but a year down the line…I worry. I am concerned.’ 

Alyssa Farah Griffin then probed him about Clooney’s op-ed, which had just been released, asking what he thought of the Ocean’s 11 star calling for Biden to step aside saying the ‘stakes are too high for future generations’.

‘I think it’s a valid point,’ Douglas responded. ‘I’m deeply, deeply concerned. Especially it’s difficult because the Democrats have a deep bench, I mean they got a lot of heavy hitters. A lot of talent.’

Just three weeks after co-hosting a huge fundraiser in Los Angeles that raised nearly $30million for Biden, Clooney wrote a scathing piece calling for him to step aside.

He warned that Biden would lose the presidential election, and Democrats would also lose both chambers of Congress.

‘Joe Biden is a hero; he saved democracy in 2020. We need him to do it again in 2024,’ the actor wrote in the op-ed.

Clooney said the person he saw there was the candidate the world saw at last week’s presidential debate.

‘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,’ Clooney wrote.

George Clooney visited the White House where he was honored by the President in 2022
Lifelong Democrat George Clooney turned on President Joe Biden and demand he step aside from the 2024 race after his disastrous debate and widespread concerns of whether he can serve four more years: above is George Clooney, President Joe Biden, Julia Roberts and Barack Obama at a June 16 fundraiser that raised $28 million

‘But the one battle he cannot win is the fight against time. None of us can. 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,’ he said. 

Biden and Clooney have a long relationship, going back to Biden’s day as chairman of the Senate Foreign Services Committee. Clooney was working on issues in Darfur and connected with him.

The president has honored Clooney for his support, hosting him at the White House for the Kennedy Center Honors in December 2022. 

In response to Clooney’s editorial, the Biden campaign pointed to the president’s statements on Monday saying he was ‘committed’ to running again in November.

Media-shy for much of his presidency, Biden will also give a fresh interview, to broadcaster NBC on Monday, as he seeks to convince voters.

But while top Democrats broadly but unenthusiastically backed him on Tuesday, Biden’s efforts to stop the bleeding increasingly looked to be in vain.

Former House speaker Nancy Pelosi, 86, was lukewarm on his candidacy, telling MSNBC ‘it’s up to the president to decide if he is going to run.’

‘We’re all encouraging him to make that decision because the time is running short,’ she said, despite Biden’s repeated pledges last week to stay in the race.

The Heads of State of NATO pose with US President Joe Biden and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (center) at a photo op in the South Lawn of the White House before a State dinner at the NATO 75th anniversary summit celebration in Washington, DC, on July 10, 2024
President Joe Biden (R) and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (L) toast each other at a dinner for NATO members in the East Room of the White House on July 10, 2024

Pelosi said Biden should delay any final decision until after NATO’s 75th anniversary summit in Washington, which ends on Thursday with what will be a closely watched press conference by the president.

Meanwhile, the 81-year-old tried to show his leadership credentials at the NATO summit in Washington.

Fellow NATO leaders appeared to rally round Biden as he greeted them on arrival. 

Biden, who gave a forceful speech pledging new air defenses for Ukraine as the summit opened on Tuesday, got through his opening remarks with only a couple of verbal stumbles.

But his every move from now until November will now be watched for evidence of age-related frailty or ill health.

At least eight House Democrats have openly called on Biden to not seek reelection, with New York Congressman Pat Ryan jumping ship on Wednesday.

Colorado’s Michael Bennet on Tuesday became the first Senate Democrat to publicly turn on the president, saying Biden would lose if he stayed on the ballot.

Pictured from left, US President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, Emmanuel Macron, France’s president, and Gitanas Nauseda, Lithuania’s president, during an arrival ceremony at the South Portico of the White House in Washington DC on Wednesday
President Joe Biden shakes hands with British Prime Minister Keir Starmer during a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, on July 10, 2024

‘Donald Trump is on track, I think, to win this election, and maybe win it by a landslide and take with it the Senate and the House,’ Bennet told CNN.

Former president Trump, 78, is meanwhile back on the warpath after a long interval of public events following the June 27 debate.

At a rally in Florida on Tuesday he accused Biden of mounting the ‘biggest cover-up in political history’ over his health.

Republicans also turned the screw, with the House Oversight Committee that the party controls issuing subpoenas for three top White House aides to testify about Biden’s health, the Axios news outlet reported.

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