Clooney’s Double-Cross of Biden

The actor now says that the star of his $30 million fundraiser ‘was the same man we all witnessed at the debate.’

Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
Amal Clooney, left, and George Clooney arrive at the LA Premiere of "Suburbicon" at the Regency Village Theatre on Oct. 23, 2017, at Los Angeles. Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

It’s too soon to say whether George Clooney’s call for President Biden to drop his re-election bid will find its mark. It’s not too soon to suggest that with friends like Mr. Clooney, Mr. Biden doesn’t need enemies. It was just the other day that Mr. Clooney helped gather Hollywood types for a fundraiser for Mr. Biden and hornswoggled them into ponying up 30 million spondulix for Mr. Biden, which raises the question — what now? 

Is Mr. Clooney going to refund their money or otherwise make the gullible donors whole? What about co-hosts Jimmy Kimmel and Julia Roberts, not to mention President Obama? Mr. Clooney  is out with a column in the Times saying that when he encountered Joe Biden at the fundraiser he grasped that he 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.”

The question this raises is what did Mr. Clooney know and when did he know it? The fundraiser was three weeks ago, and immediately afterward the president left for the G7 parley. If what Mr. Clooney saw that night was so damning, why was the alarm not raised immediately? Forget about running for president — what about Mr. Biden’s capacity to serve as one? What of that $30 million that was raised under the pretense that he could still serve?

And what about Mr. Clooney’s previous ham-fisted attempt to steer White House policy in favor of the International Criminal Court, a client of his wife? It’s hard to tell whether Mr. Clooney is motivated by principle or pique or a personal agenda. The Clooneys were outraged by Mr. Biden’s statement that “there is no equivalence — none — between Israel and Hamas.” They were mollified when Mr. Biden swore off sanctions against the ICC.

Mr. Biden’s about face on the ICC — he at first called Ms. Clooney’s suggestion that Israeli officials be charged “outrageous” — was likely motivated, at least in part, by the wish to preserve the fundraiser at which Mr. Clooney now alleges the scales fell from his eyes. In an ironical twist, the president’s reversal on sanctions against the ICC has now been rewarded with the president being  abandoned by one of the Democratic Party’s glitziest backers.

Mr. Clooney, it seems, is not alone in now declaring that something was amiss at the fundraiser. A former speechwriter for Mr. Obama, Jon Favreau, who was at the event, took to CNN to share that Mr. Clooney’s evaluation was “not surprising” and that  “every single person” he “talked to at the fundraiser thought the same thing” — that Mr. Biden is a shell of his former self. What, then, was the big secret?

More broadly still, this is a question of the character of the whole Democratic Party. Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, the party insisted that Mr. Biden could not only run, and win, but also govern and serve. Catch, say, George Stephanopoulos on a run, and he pants out the truth that such a representation is a fiction. Mr. Clooney is now saying the quiet part out loud. Polls have a way of focusing the mind. For Mr. Biden, so might this double-cross.    


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