President Biden attends star-studded, high-dollar fundraiser in downtown LA

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — President Joe Biden returned to the Southland Saturday for a star-studded campaign fundraising event in downtown Los Angeles that will also featured former President Barack Obama and celebrity supporters Barbra Streisand, George Clooney and Julia Roberts.

Music icon Streisand introduced First Lady Dr. Jill Biden to begin the remarks.

“She’s the neighbor everyone wishes they have, not the type that suddenly flies an American flag upside down,” Streisand said.

Jill Biden talked about punching a neighborhood bully who had “tormented” her younger sister when she was a teen. “My 13-year-old self was right about one thing: When bullies threaten our loved ones we don’t just stand by,” she said. She said the people at the event were showing presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump how they deal with bullies.

“We don’t cower, we don’t turn way. We show up. We speak up,” Biden said.

She compared President Joe Biden with Trump. “Joe, a man who has dedicated his life to serving his community, who honors the rule of law instead of trying to bend it to his own will, and rallies the world to fight for democracy and freedom; a president who wakes up every morning thinking about how he can make the lives of Americans better,” she said. “Or, we can choose someone who wakes up every morning caring about one person and one person only himself. Trump has told us again and again why he wants the White House: to give himself absolute power, to not be held accountable for his criminal actions, to destroy the democratic safeguards that stand in his way.”

Biden warned supporters to show up and speak up now and through Election Day. “We can’t wake up on November 6 thinking if only we made more calls or knocked on more doors or donated more money,” she said. “We have to work harder than we’ve ever worked before. And when we do, we’ll wake up on that Wednesday in November proud that we did everything we could to re-elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.”

Air Force One touched down at LAX at 5:04 a.m. Saturday, according to a White House pool report. Biden exited the plane at 5:32 a.m. with his daughter, Ashley Biden.

Late-night talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel participated in the fundraiser in a similar way to that of talk-show host Stephen Colbert, who moderated a talk between Biden, Obama and former President Bill Clinton in March in New York City.

According to various reports, tickets for the exclusive gathering began at $250, ranging as high as $500,000 for front-of-house seating, photo ops and an after-party.

“The event has already raised over $28 million and counting — making it the biggest fundraiser in Democratic Party history,” a Biden campaign statement said Saturday morning. The New York event in March raised $26 million, according to the New York Times.

Among the organizers of the event was entertainment mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, a co-chair of the Biden 2024 campaign.

“This Saturday, we are going to see an unprecedented and record- setting turnout from the media and entertainment world,” Katzenberg said in remarks reported by the Los Angeles Times. The enthusiasm and commitment for Biden-Harris couldn’t be stronger. We all understand this is the most important election of our lifetime.”

Actors Jason Bateman, Jack Black, Kathryn Hahn and Sheryl Lee Ralph were also expected to attend the gathering.

The fundraiser could be the last major appearance for Biden in the Southland ahead of the November election, making it a critical event for an incumbent dogged by continuing consumer complaints about the cost of groceries and gas, and rising division over the U.S. stance in the Israel-Hamas war.

At least one protest was known to be in the works for the president’s visit. A group of “Jews, Palestinians and allies with Jewish Voice for Peace- Los Angeles” planned a demonstration outside the Peacock Theater to call on the United States to “impose an arms embargo on U.S. weapons sales to Israel immediately and end the ongoing genocide against Palestinians.”

The California Republican Party, meanwhile, blasted the high-dollar fundraising event.

“Nothing says to struggling Americans, ‘I understand what you’re going through and am ready to help,’ like spending a night schmoozing with the ultra-relatable George Clooney, Julia Roberts and other Hollywood celebrities,” Jessica Millan Patterson, the California Republican Party chairwoman, said in a statement.

“What you likely will see at President Biden’s glitzy L.A. bash: anti-Israel protests dividing their party, excuses for why issues like inflation and illegal immigration aren’t as bad as Californians know they are, and a bevy of out-of-touch Hollywood elites who are fearful that their standard bearer isn’t up to the job.

“What you likely won’t see: targeted Democrat House members and candidates who don’t want to be caught anywhere near an incredibly unpopular,” she said. “The typical Democrat Hollywood cash grab won’t be enough to save Biden from voters retiring him in November.”

Trump was in the Southland for a fundraising swing of his own last week. He spoke at a Newport Beach fundraiser, with tickets ranging from $3,300 for a lunch reception to $100,000 to be designated as a member of the host committee. The cost for a photo op with Trump started at $35,000.

Trump also attended a fundraiser in Beverly Hills, with tickets ranging from $5,000 to $250,000.

Biden was last in the Los Angeles area in late February, when he attended a fundraiser at the home of Israeli American media mogul Haim Saban in the gated Beverly Park community, near Mulholland Drive.

Tickets for that event ranged from $3,300 to $250,000, with those donating at least $25,000 getting to take a picture with Biden, according to the entertainment news website Deadline.

Biden also made a brief stop in Los Angeles on Feb. 3-4, meeting with entertainment industry leaders to lobby for support for his campaign. The Times reported the meeting was held at a home owned by George Lucas.

In December, Biden was in the area for two days of fundraising events and campaign meetings, including a fundraiser at the home of investors Jose Feliciano and Kwanza Jones. He also attended a star-studded affair in Holmby Hills that included Steven Spielberg, Rob Reiner, Shonda Rhimes, Gov. Gavin Newsom, Mayor Karen Bass and her former opponent, developer Rick Caruso, and a performance by Lenny Kravitz.

Copyright 2024, City News Service, Inc.

Copyright © 2024 by City News Service, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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