President Biden’s Fiery Phone Call to ‘Morning Joe’ Comes as Hollywood Remains Split on Candidacy

Pointing to large crowds at weekend rallies in battleground states across the U.S., President Joe Biden laughed off the notion that he is seriously ill and pushed back against naysayers across the political and entertainment industries calling for him to step down from the Democratic presidential ticket, assuring all that he’s “not going anywhere” on a defiant phone call to MSNBC on Monday.

The offensive from the Biden campaign comes after his disastrous performance at the first presidential debate on June 27 and uninterrupted and unedited interview on Friday with ABC News, which did little to assuage fears of not only the incumbent losing the presidency to presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump but also that a red wave would hand Republicans the Senate and House.

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“The bottom line here is that we’re not going anywhere,” an energized Biden said on the phone call into Morning Joe, where he spoke directly to hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. “I am not going anywhere. I wouldn’t be running if I didn’t absolutely believe that I am the best candidate to beat Donald Trump in 2024.”

Biden’s attitude and confidence on the call were in sharp contrast to how he appeared at the first debate in Atlanta and on ABC in an interview with George Stephanopoulos, where the president’s words were again confused and meandering at times. Brzezinski, at one moment, pointed out the growing number of publications, editors and editorial boards, and Democratic leaders who, after seeing Biden’s performance in both the debate and the ABC News interview, have said it’s time for him to quit the race. The host mentioned The New York Times editorial board, The Economist magazine, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Boston Globe, Congressmen Jerry Nadler and Seth Moulton, New Yorker editor David Remnick and others as abandoning Biden.

“I don’t care what those big names think. They were wrong in 2020, they were wrong in 2022 about the red wave, and they’re wrong in 2024,” Biden said. “Come out with me. Watch, watch people react. You make a judgment.”

Biden added, “I’m getting so frustrated by the elites … the elites in the party who — they know so much more. Any of these guys don’t think I should, run against me: Go ahead. Challenge me at the convention.”

After Biden’s phone call, at least one high-profile Hollywood figure shared her support for the president. On The View, moderator Whoopi Goldberg firmly stood by the president in his reelection bid — at least for now.

“I don’t care if he’s pooped his pants. I don’t care if he can’t put a sentence together. Show me he can’t do the job, and then I’ll say, ‘OK, maybe it’s time to go.’” Goldberg said, going on to recall how, in his first debate in a wide field of Democratic challengers ahead of the 2020 election, Biden stumbled while sparring with his future vice presidential pick, Kamala Harris, and people wanted him to quit.

“He came back and said, ‘You know what? I got it,’ and gave four years,” Goldberg added. “So, yeah, I have poopy days all the time. … I step in so much poo. Now, I’m not running the world, but I don’t know anybody who doesn’t step in stuff at some point.”

Speaking to The View audience and her co-hosts, Goldberg added that there are two debates in this election cycle and if Biden can’t deliver at the second one, she’s willing to say it’s time to get rid of him.

“But loyalty to me, if you are doing the job — I might not like everything you’re doing, I don’t like it all, but I’m going to stand behind you, like those guys stand behind the guy who should have been the person people were talking about, saying, ‘Yeah, Biden had a bad day, but this guy couldn’t tell the truth if it split his lip.’”

Whether Goldberg’s attitude toward Biden will pervade Hollywood is unclear. On Sunday, actor-director Rob Reiner joined the chorus of high-profile Democratic donors saying it’s time for Biden to exit the race but in an post on Monday after hearing the president’s call into MSNBC, conceded that “If we see the Joe Biden that appeared on Morning Joe today every day until Nov. 5, he’ll be able to shut up people like me who think he should step aside.”

On Monday, Stephen King tweeted that while “Joe Biden has been a fine president” it’s time for him “in the interests of the America he so clearly loves — to announce he will not run for re-election.” Filmmaker Michael Moore even said that the Democratic party is committing “elder abuse” with Biden on the ticket.

“The problem here is that I think there is a form of elder abuse going on here where the Democratic Party and the people that are part of the apparatus are pushing and pushing him to stay. And then he comes out and says ‘I am staying,’ and the family says ‘I am staying,’” Moore said.

Many of Hollywood’s wealthy donors have already abandoned ship. Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel, Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings, media mogul Barry Diller, heiress Abigail Disney and major TV producer Damon Lindelof have all publicly indicated they’re no longer supporting Biden’s reelection bid.

Meanwhile, one of Hollywood’s major Biden campaign supporters, Jeffrey Katzenberg, has been mum on the candidate since the first debate. The producer, who has been a major organizer for fundraising of Biden’s reelection bid, threw an event recently that brought in $30 million at a gala attended by George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Barbra Streisand, and has publicly and privately made assurances that the president was mentally up to the task of another term. 

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