Crypto billionaire Mike Novogratz, Walmart heir urge Biden to drop out

A coalition of top business leaders is taking their campaign to get President Joe Biden to drop his re-election bid one step further, penning a letter to him signed by billionaires and top executives.

Christy Walton, Michael Novogratz and Paul Tagliabue are among the 168 signatories of the letter from the Leadership Now Project, a copy of which was seen by Bloomberg. It states that “nothing short of American democracy is at stake this November” and follows an unsigned statement Wednesday that said the group of business leaders has “heard from many individuals who share our deep concerns about the present course but fear speaking out.”

The signatories of the letter laud Biden, 81, for “rescuing our democracy from the deepest threats it has known since the Civil War.” But, “to ensure that legacy is cemented, we ask that you pass the torch of leadership to the next generation of Democratic leaders by ending your reelection bid.”

That leaders across business, government and philanthropy are willing to attach their names to a pressure campaign for a sitting president to drop out of the 2024 race reflects the crisis engulfing the Democratic Party following Biden’s debate performance last week, which was widely deemed disastrous. Polls in the following days showed former president Donald Trump widening his lead and voters expressing increased alarm about Biden’s age.

Walton, 75, is worth about $14 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The philanthropist is the widow of John T. Walton, the second son of Walmart Inc. founder Sam Walton. Novogratz, 59, is the billionaire founder of Galaxy Digital and previously backed Representative Dean Phillips’ short-lived primary challenge to Biden. Tagliabue, 83, is the former commissioner of the National Football League.

Novogratz and Tagliabue didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. A representative for Walton couldn’t immediately be reached.

Still, it’s not clear how much sway Democratic donors will ultimately have over Biden’s decision. Reports indicate he’s leaning on a small group of trusted advisers, including his wife Jill and his son Hunter.

The New York Times on Wednesday reported that he told key allies that he can’t afford many more missteps if he wants to remain in the race. The White House called it “absolutely false.”

The business leaders, for their part, appealed to Biden’s patriotic side around the nation’s Independence Day, invoking the first US president.

“At this consequential moment for our nation, it is time to cement your legacy by passing the torch — just as George Washington did,” the group wrote. “We respectfully urge you to withdraw from being a candidate for reelection for the sake of our democracy and the future of our nation.”

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