Liberal comedian Bill Maher often boasts about his vocal prediction that President Trump would refuse to leave office willingly long before the 2020 presidential election. But perhaps he can add another feather to his cap about his growing concerns about President Biden’s viability in the 2024 election.
Biden is facing intense media scrutiny following the explosive release of Special Counsel Robert Hur’s report that put a spotlight on his “poor memory,” saying in interviews with investigators that he couldn’t remember key biographical details like what years he served as vice president and when his son Beau died.
The fallout of the report, in addition to Biden’s recent string of gaffes, has some Democrats panicking and handed Maher some vindication.
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‘Like non-dairy creamer’
Despite being a major supporter of Biden’s in 2020, the “Real Time” host began casting doubt on his re-election prospects back in January 2022 when polling at the time showed the president with a 33% approval rating and warned it “may have even further to fall” since there is no “diehard Biden base,” saying he had a “coalition of the unenthused” during the last election.
“Democrats must thank President Biden for his great service to America and then move him into a more ceremonial role,” Maher said in a monologue. “Joe Biden has been president now for a year and a day. The day was pretty good, but the year? Not horrible, certainly better than the alternative, but for some reason, America has lost its faith in Joe. Sometimes that just happens.”
“When he first got into office, I told you that Biden was like non-dairy creamer; nobody’s first choice but he got the job done. And he did get the job done in 2020 when his nation needed him to beat Trump and he did!” he later exclaimed. “But fair or not, to most people now, it looks like Joe Biden’s ‘Get up and go’ got up and went.”
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While acknowledging Biden’s unpopularity, Maher routinely defended Biden when he was attacked for his age, calling it “ageist” and even suggested he’s gotten better over time – at least when it came to his gaffes.
“Lot’s of people have it in their interest that he is gonna act senile and- I mean, everybody who is on-camera that much is gonna make some gaffes,” Maher said in May 2022. “And let’s be honest, he was a gaffe machine when he was 40!”
In March 2023, Maher suggested Democrats couldn’t beat Trump in 2024 unless Biden runs.
“I think if it’s Biden against Trump, Biden will win. I do. Not guaranteed, but I think that’s a really good bet. It was the first time and I think it would the second time even more so,” Maher told CNN. “If it’s Trump against Biden, I think Biden will win. But if it’s not Biden, I don’t know.”
‘Ruth Bader Biden’
Maher’s tone began to drastically shift in September during a conversation with Democratic strategist James Carville, going from believing Biden would be the only Democrat to defeat Trump in 2024 to becoming the only Democrat who would lose to the former president.
“I think we’re on the same page with Biden. Did a great service but whereas in 2020, maybe he was the only one who could have beaten Trump, I think now he’s the only one who will lose to him,” Maher told Carville on his “Club Random” podcast. “And look, do I think he can do the job? Absolutely. Government, as you well know better than anybody, is done in small rooms like the Oval Office, where people are talking quietly and decisions are made. I think he still can do that fine. He cannot run for president. He’ll look bad in the debates. It’s just, it’s too – it’s too much. And he’s, I think, going to lose.”
He’s compared Biden to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who didn’t step down during the Obama years despite her past health scares. She died in 2020 and was replaced by Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Had she stepped down any time during the first six years of Obama’s presidency when Democrats controlled the Senate, her liberal replacement would have likely sailed to confirmation.
“He will be Ruth Bader Biden, the Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the presidency,” the liberal comedian said. “It’s not a good look. And any 50ish, not stupid woke Democrat with a ‘D’ by their name – people just vote ‘D’ and ‘R.’ That person can win.”
He doubled down on the “Ruth Bader Biden” analogy, selling merchandise featuring Biden dressed as the late justice with the slogan reading, “Time to go, Joe. Don’t be a Ruth Bader Biden.”
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Separately on his HBO show, Maher begged Biden to step aside.
“Someone has to convince President Biden that if he runs again, he’s going to turn the country back over to Trump and go down in history as Ruth Bader Biden, the person who doesn’t know when to quit, and so does great damage to their party and their country,” Maher said.
He later continued, “What matters is voters think Biden’s too old. What matters is he’s gonna lose to Trump, who is almost the same age, but his age just doesn’t read like Biden’s. Maybe it’s because Trump is insane. Maybe it’s because he’s always a ball of white-hot anger, but for whatever reason, he looks robust. And Joe looks like his own skeletal remains.”
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Maher argued “this would not be an issue” in the year 1860 without the 24-hour media news cycle and when debates were only seen in person, telling viewers “Joe’s debates next year will be televised to all and I don’t think he’s going to look good.”
He then made a direct plea to the president, “Joe, you did noble service for your country and you check that big box, the President of the United States. Of course, as a politician, you’re naturally going to say ‘but the work is not finished.’ Of course not, it never is. But it’s time to let someone else finish it.”
In October, Maher rejoiced in response to the campaign launch of Democratic challenger, Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips.
“He’s 54! Did I mention he’s 54?” Maher exclaimed. “He loves Biden. He says exactly what I say. He did a great job, but don’t do it again. Family- self-made millionaire, the family’s in the organic vodka business. Dean Phillips, I’m getting behind him for president of the United States.”
‘Switch him out at the convention’
Fast-forward to February 2024. Despite having called Biden’s handling of classified documents “very shady” when the scandal first broke last year, Maher was overall dismissive of Hur’s findings.
Still, the appearance of Biden’s mental decline had Maher rattled.
“I said he was going to be the Ruth Bader Ginsburg of presidential politics… He stayed too long at the fair,” Maher said on Friday. “Bubbling up this week… he won’t do the Super Bowl interview, which is not a hard one, mixing up all the world leaders and then this report that came out.”
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Maher recalled comments Biden made during the 2020 election cycle when he referred to himself as a “bridge” for Democrats, insisting that was a “big hint” that he wasn’t intending to seek re-election.
“He said ‘I see myself as a bridge’ that’s collapsing,” Maher quipped. “‘I see myself as a bridge.’ I read that as one term. And I guess the question now is, is it too late? And I don’t think it is because I still think you can do it at the convention. People have said to me, ‘Oh, that’s ridiculous. They’ll look like-‘ They’ll look like nothing. Nobody gives a f— what they do at the convention.”
“You can switch him out at the convention… If a guy says ‘I can’t run,’ then you have to do it. Then it has to be somebody else. Then it’s an open convention. We’ve had open conventions many times… They make it up as they go along anyway. It’s politics,” Maher later added.