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At Biden Fund-Raiser, Hollywood and Democrats Let the Trump Attacks Fly

At Biden Fund-Raiser, Hollywood and Democrats Let the Trump Attacks Fly


A Hollywood fund-raiser Saturday night time supposed to bolster President Biden’s warfare chest become a platform for among the most concerted and hardest assaults to this point on former President Donald J. Trump by the Biden marketing campaign, as entertainers, Barack Obama and even Jill Biden assailed Mr. Trump’s ethics and his suitability to return to the White House.

Ms. Biden, after being launched by Barbra Streisand, mentioned the selection was between her husband, “who honors the rule of legislation as a substitute of attempting to bend it to his means,” and Mr. Trump, “who wakes up each morning caring about one particular person and one particular person solely: himself.”

“Mr. Trump has instructed us time and again why he desires the White House — to present himself absolute energy, to not be held accountable for his legal motion,” Ms. Biden continued. His intention, she instructed the gang, “was to destroy the democratic safeguards that stand in his means.”

Mr. Obama invoked Mr. Trump’s felony convictions — one thing that Mr. Biden has for probably the most half prevented doing — to applause from the gang.

“We have the spectacle of the nominee of one of many two main events sitting in court docket and being convicted by a jury of his friends on 34 counts,” Mr. Obama mentioned. Listing off a sequence of what he described as offenses by Mr. Trump, he famous that “you’ve gotten his group being prosecuted for not paying taxes. Set apart all the opposite stuff he says —”

President Biden picked up his microphone: “He paid none.”

The tenor of the occasion in downtown Los Angeles was completely different from one other star-studded fund-raiser simply three months in the past at Radio City Music Hall. The shift got here after Mr. Trump was convicted by a New York jury on May 30 of 34 felony counts of falsifying enterprise data, a verdict that produced a surge of contributions from his supporters that narrowed the fund-raising hole between the 2 candidates and raised considerations amongst Democrats throughout the nation, nowhere greater than in Los Angeles.

It additionally added a twist to a reasonably commonplace political occasion in Hollywood: Democratic candidates displaying as much as accumulate cash from the closely Democratic leisure neighborhood.

George Clooney was there. So had been Julia Roberts and Jimmy Kimmel, who requested Mr. Biden if the nation had “Trump amnesia,” evaluating these 4 years to “a colonoscopy” that folks need to overlook.

“Remember the pandemic,” Mr. Biden responded. “He mentioned simply don’t fear, simply inject a little bit bleach.”

The occasion, on the Peacock Theater in Los Angeles, dwelling to the annual Emmy Awards, helped to lift a minimum of $28 million, his aides mentioned, eclipsing the $26 million that the president drew three months in the past on the fund-raiser at Radio City Music Hall.

The tone was set early on, when Ms. Streisand launched the primary girl.

“She’s the neighbor everybody needs they’ve, not the sort that instantly flies an American flag the other way up,” Ms. Streisand mentioned to laughter and some groans, referring to how Martha-Ann Alito, the spouse of Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., had flown an American flag the other way up — an emblem related to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot on the Capitol — exterior the couple’s dwelling in Virginia.

The change within the political surroundings was one purpose for the completely different tenor of the night. Another was Mr. Kimmel, who provided far edgier — and main — questions than Stephen Colbert, the late-night discuss present host who questioned Mr. Biden, Mr. Obama and Bill Clinton on the Radio City Music Hall occasion.

“You did say you had been preventing to revive the soul of America, and currently it does seem to be we would want an exorcism,” Mr. Kimmel mentioned on the prime of this system, turning to Mr. Biden. “Is that why you visited the pope?”

“Uh,” Mr. Biden mentioned, chuckling softly. “Yeah.”

When Mr. Kimmel talked about the repeal of Roe v. Wade that Trump-appointed justices on the Supreme Court helped orchestrate, the viewers hissed. “Don’t hiss, vote!” Mr. Obama mentioned.

Mr. Biden mentioned that “the subsequent president is prone to have two extra Supreme Court nominees,” including, referring to Mr. Trump, “The concept that if he’s re-elected, he’s going to nominate two extra who’re waving flags the other way up, is —” He trailed off.

“The Supreme Court has by no means been as out of kilter as it’s right this moment,” Mr. Biden mentioned.

He reminded the viewers of the occasions of Jan. 6 and that Mr. Trump has currently used apocalyptic phrases like “blood tub” and “retribution.”

Outside the theater complicated on Olympic Boulevard, a line of black-clad police in helmets stood guard as about 100 protesters — sporting T-shirts studying “Cease-Fire Now” and carrying indicators saying “Stop the Gaza Homicide” — shouted at arriving company. “There is blood in your arms!” they mentioned.

“People are stepping into to fund Biden’s re-election marketing campaign whereas he’s arming Israel and funding a genocide in opposition to the folks in Palestine,” mentioned one of many demonstrators, Jodie Evans, 70, a political activist and documentary producer who lives within the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles.

The occasion got here amid unease about Mr. Biden’s strengths as a candidate in opposition to Mr. Trump, particularly after the previous president’s latest spike in fund-raising.

“Hearing concerning the cash made us nervous,” mentioned David Mandel, the tv showrunner who produced “Veep” and who’s a distinguished backer of the Biden marketing campaign. “But it’s not like we had been actually assured and that made us nervous. We’ve been nervous for eight years. So that is nothing new.”

Mr. Mandel disputed comparisons between enterprise leaders writing checks to Mr. Trump and what was on show from the rich leisure trade on Saturday.

“Let me let you know what Julia Roberts and Jimmy Kimmel and Mark Hamill are usually not doing,” he mentioned. “They are usually not asking Joe Biden to decrease the company tax price. They are usually not asking Joe Biden to decrease their private earnings tax price.”

But for all its monetary success — the cash raised set a report for a Democratic fund-raising occasion, Mr. Biden’s marketing campaign mentioned — the occasion was a reminder of the dangers for politicians once they attempt to combine Washington and Hollywood.

Mr. Biden shared a stage with Mr. Clooney, the actor who had lodged complaints with a White House official over the president’s criticism of the International Criminal Court.

The court docket had determined to hunt a warrant in opposition to Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu; its protection minister; and three leaders of Hamas for unlawful actions in waging a warfare in Gaza that has led to 1000’s of civilian deaths. Mr. Clooney’s spouse, Amal Clooney, is a human rights lawyer who served on an advisory panel that helped conduct the investigation.

Mr. Biden, who departed a gathering of world leaders in Italy on Friday, skipping a farewell dinner to fly throughout 10 time zones to be in Los Angeles, made no point out of the complaints when he thanked supporters throughout his remarks.

The corridor was stuffed with acquainted faces from the world of leisure, led by Jeffrey Katzenberg, the Hollywood producer who has turn out to be one in every of Mr. Biden’s prime behind-the-scenes advisers and who’s chairing his 2024 marketing campaign.

It was an evening of mingling between Hollywood royalty and Democratic leaders from Washington to Sacramento. Bryan Lourd and Richard Lovett, who run the Creative Artists Agency, some of the highly effective expertise businesses on the town, posed for photos with Mr. Clooney and Ms. Roberts. Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, and Karen Bass, the mayor of Los Angeles, had been there, as effectively.

But the stakes had been arguably greater right here than they’d been in New York. Republicans collected $50.5 million at a fund-raiser in Palm Beach, Fla., in April, after which raised one other $141 million in May. Tickets on Saturday night time ranged from $250 a seat to $500,000 for a V.I.P. bundle.

Chad Griffin, a Hollywood-based Democratic advisor and a member of the party’s nationwide finance committee, mentioned the leisure neighborhood was turning out in anticipation of this being “the most costly election cycle in historical past” given the proof of Mr. Trump’s fund-raising success and political assist.

“I’ve by no means seen this city extra motivated and extra dedicated to a presidential election,” mentioned Mr. Griffin, who started his profession in politics working within the Clinton White House. “And I believe it’s as a result of there’s a transparent understanding about what’s at stake and what it’s going to take to win in November.”

Reid J. Epstein, Brooks Barnes and George Johnston contributed reporting.

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