Biden raises more than $28M in Hollywood fundraiser featuring Obama, campaign says

In 24 hours, President Joe Biden went from the G7 summit to George Clooney. Mr. Biden left Italy Friday evening and arrived in Los Angeles early Saturday morning ahead of a star-studded fundraising evening with former President Barack Obama, talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, Clooney and actress Julia Roberts.

The Biden-Harris campaign says it raised $28 million for Saturday night’s event, a record sum for a single Democratic fundraiser. It also eclipses the $26 million the Biden campaign raised at a March fundraiser in New York with Biden, Obama and former President Bill Clinton.

Biden Obama Kimmel fundraiser in Los Angeles
President Biden stands on stage with television host Jimmy Kimmel and former President Barack Obama during a campaign fundraiser at the Peacock Theater in Los Angeles on June 15, 2024.

MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Saturday’s affair included a moderate interview of Biden and Obama by Kimmel that touched on health care, abortion and the Supreme Court. Kimmel publicly defended the Affordable Care Act, passed during the Obama administration, after his newborn son underwent open-heart surgery in 2017. But the contrast between Mr. Biden and his Republican opponent, former President Donald Trump, were at the heart of the programming.

“I could have done nothing and done better than him,” Mr. Biden said near the top of their discussion.

Mr. Biden said whoever wins in November could find himself nominating two justices to the Supreme Court, a reference to potential vacancies that could arise over the next four years.

“The Supreme Court has never been so lopsided…so out of sync,” Mr. Biden said of the 6-3 majority that conservatives currently have on the Supreme Court.

Clooney and Roberts kicked off pre-programming at Saturday’s event. Appearances from musician Barbra Streisand as well as actors Jason Bateman, Jack Black, Kathryn Hahn and Sheryl Lee Ralph were also part of the entertainment before Mr. Biden’s discussion with Obama and Kimmel.

Other celebrities, like Keegan-Michael Key, Connie Britton, Misha Collins, Jeri Ryan, Jonathan Del Arco, Mandana Dayani, Blake Cooper Griffin and Adam Met, were also on the fundraiser’s guest list, according to the Biden campaign.

Ticket prices for Saturday’s event ranged from $250,000 to $500,000, although local donors could contribute $20 to attend the fundraiser virtually.

Hollywood actors have been on the campaign trail for Biden in recent weeks. Robert De Niro participated in a campaign news conference in May outside the Lower Manhattan courthouse, where former President Donald Trump’s “hush money” trial was taking place. Ralph from “Abbott Elementary” campaigned with Vice President Kamala Harris in Pennsylvania, and Jane Fonda appeared at a campaign event in Reno, Nevada. With first lady Jill Biden on Friday.

The money comes at a time when the race is tight between Biden and Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. A CBS News Poll as of June found Mr. Biden gaining 1 point in battleground states, a virtual tie. The Biden campaign says the money raised Saturday will be used to expand its core operations (field offices, staff) and paid media.

“This Saturday, we will witness an unprecedented and record participation from the world of media and entertainment. The enthusiasm and commitment for Biden/Harris could not be stronger. We all understand that this is the most important election of our lifetimes. said Jeffrey Katzenberg, Biden-Harris campaign co-chair and film producer.

While Mr. Biden held a considerable cash flow advantage for most of the cycle, Mr. Trump said he saw his own fundraising increase. His campaign says they raised $52.8 million within 24 hours of his conviction on 34 counts during his “hush money” trial.

The Trump campaign says it also raised a question a record $50.5 million at an April fundraiser in Florida.

Mr. Clooney’s involvement in fundraising sparked some intrigue after the Washington Post reported in June that he called a White House adviser to air his grievances about Biden’s criticism of of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which Clooney’s wife, Amal, works on. Biden criticized the ICC Request for arrest warrant Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

A few days later, the Biden campaign sent a fundraising text from Clooney.

“I’m not exaggerating when I say this election is the fight of our lives,” Clooney’s text read. “It’s a choice between those who want to take America back to the past, and those who want to move America forward into the future.”

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