Biden campaign raises $28 million ahead of star-studded fundraiser

The Biden campaign raised $28 million ahead of a star-studded fundraiser in Los Angeles headlined by actors George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jimmy Kimmel and former president Barack Obama, a campaign official said Saturday.

The massive haul — which surpasses the more than $25 million the campaign said it raised during a March fundraiser at New York’s Radio City Music Hall that featured Biden and former presidents Obama and Bill Clinton — comes as Biden and Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, are in an effectively deadlocked race.

Biden and his allies have sought to use his large cash advantage over Trump to demonstrate enthusiasm for his campaign heading into November’s election, although Trump’s fundraising has shown signs of picking up in recent weeks.

The Biden campaign is calling Saturday’s event the largest Democratic fundraiser in history. It said the same after the New York event featuring the three presidents.

“This Saturday we are going to see an unprecedented and record setting turn out from the media and entertainment world,” Jeffrey Katzenberg, a Biden campaign co-chair, said in a statement. “The enthusiasm and commitment for Biden/Harris couldn’t be stronger. We all understand this is the most important election of our lifetime.”

Biden and Trump have struggled for months to change the dynamics of a matchup that polls show few voters want. Trump was recently convicted on 34 counts of falsifying business records to conceal a hush money payment to an adult-film actress, but even that historic verdict has done little to significantly alter the race.

While Trump has sought to close the money gap with Biden, much of that fundraising has gone to pay legal bills related to several pending cases against him.

The Hollywood event is slated to feature a discussion moderated by Kimmel with Obama and Biden. Kimmel, whose son has a congenital heart condition, has criticized Republican efforts to try to repeal the Affordable Care Act — Obama’s signature domestic policy initiative — because it would take away the guarantee that those with preexisting conditions, like his son, receive health coverage.

In the weeks leading up to the fundraiser, Clooney called a top White House adviser to complain about the president’s criticism of action by the International Criminal Court against Israeli leaders, a case his wife Amal Clooney had worked on. Clooney expressed concern about Biden’s denunciation of arrest warrants sought by ICC prosecutors for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, especially Biden’s use of the word “outrageous” to describe those moves. The ICC prosecutors also sought warrants for top Hamas leaders.

The actor in particular was upset about the administration’s initial openness to imposing sanctions on the ICC, because his wife might have been subject to the penalties. The White House later moved away from the idea of sanctioning the court.

The Biden campaign said the money raised at Saturday’s event will go toward opening offices around the country, hiring organizers and launching ad campaigns to target key voters.

Saturday’s event caps a busy stretch of travel for the president, who flew to Los Angeles on Saturday directly from Italy, where he was attending the Group of Seven nations summit. Last week, Biden traveled to France to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

Biden has also traveled back and forth in recent days to Wilmington, Del., to support his son Hunter, who earlier this week was convicted on three charges of lying on a federal gun form and unlawfully possessing that gun for 11 days.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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