Bill Maher calls on Biden to step aside: ‘My pick would be Gavin Newsom’

Comedian Bill Maher has urged Joe Biden to step aside as the Democratic candidate for president amid his disastrous debate performance last week.

In an op-ed for The New York Times, Maher said that the first debate between Biden and Trump was like the “worst episode of The Golden Bachelor ever.”

He added that following the debate, he and others can no longer “ignore the obvious” about Biden’s age. He urged the Democrats to hold an open National Convention, which could allow another candidate to be selected to replace Biden as the nominee.

“My pick would be Gavin Newsom,” Maher wrote.

“Watching him [Newsom] make the case against Mr. Trump in the pre-debate interviews, and defend Mr. Biden post-debate, reminded me: This guy is good at this,” Maher said. “Yes, he has too much ‘California baggage’ – some of which I myself don’t love – but the contrast to how he prosecutes the case against Mr. Trump and how Mr. Biden did couldn’t be clearer. He’s forceful, never at a loss for words or stats, never stumbles, never intimidated. He’s un-bullyable, and that’s important against Mr. Trump.”

Bill Maher appearing on ‘The View’, May 21, 2024 (ABC)
Bill Maher appearing on ‘The View’, May 21, 2024 (ABC)

The California governor has been floated as a potential candidate to replace Biden as the Democratic nominee. However, Newsom has dismissed the notion that Biden could be replaced, calling such discussions “unhelpful and unnecessary.”

“We aren’t going to turn our backs because of one performance. What kind of party does that?” he wrote in a Biden campaign fundraising pitch on Friday.

Biden’s poor debate performance last week raised concerns for some within the Democratic Party over his ability to beat Trump in November and lead the nation for another four years.

During the debate, he muddled his words, appeared to lose his train of thought, and struggled to make it down a small flight of stairs to greet moderators.

As a result, the president is facing a growing chorus of calls to step down, though no national officials have publicly joined these calls yet.

Democratic National Committee (DNC) rules require delegates that Biden won to pledge their support for his nomination unless Biden were to willingly decide to stand down and free his delegates for another candidate.

However, before the convention opens on August 19, the DNC could change the rules to block Biden, but that is highly unlikely given current party dynamics.

Maher noted that he previously called on Biden to step aside almost a year ago, owing to his age and concerns over his cognitive ability.

Joe Biden during last week’s debate, hosted by CNN (Reuters)
Joe Biden during last week’s debate, hosted by CNN (Reuters)

But “each time I would bring up that idea, publicly or privately,” he said, “people would dismiss it out of hand: Get on board, they’d say, the Democrats will never replace him, it’s off the table.

“Well, now it’s on the table, where it always should have been.”

He added that what happened at the debate last week “wasn’t a tragedy, it was a blessing in disguise,” explaining that if Biden were to step down, it may benefit the party and its chances of winning in November.

“Far from being some kind of disaster for the Democratic Party, it plays right into what works best in 21st-century American culture. Americans like new,” Maher wrote.

“When Barack Obama announced he was running for president in 2007, many said he hadn’t been around long enough, not realizing that his youth and inexperience was one of the best things he had going for him. He was new, and we weren’t tired of him. And he didn’t have an endlessly long record to pick over,” he continued.

“Democrats can no longer afford to suspend disbelief.”

Maher previously called on Biden to step down as the Democratic candidate almost a year ago. He made similar comments on Friday while reacting to the debate on Real Time, his HBO show.

He said it is now “absolutely apparent” that Biden should be replaced on the ticket and that it is the “only way” for Democrats to win the election.

“He is going to lose. I said it nine months ago. I’m going to say it again tonight. And now, it seems like it’s so apparent,” Maher said.