LOS ANGELES – President Joe Biden kicked off a star-studded three-day fundraising trip in California on Friday by mocking Republican front-runner Donald Trump for claiming he would be a dictator on just his first day in office if he were president again.
Trump said Tuesday that he will not become a dictator if he is president of the United States again, except “on the first day.”
“Thank God, just one day,” Biden joked at a Los Angeles fundraiser at the home of Michael Smith, a famed interior designer, and his partner, James Costos, a former HBO executive who was the president’s ambassador. Barack Obama in Spain.
Biden called Trump, who lost the 2020 election but tried to overturn the results, a threat to democracy. Trump was accused in August of extensive attempts to overturn the election.
Biden’s trip comes a day after the Justice Department filed new criminal charges against Biden’s son Hunter, accusing him of failing to pay $1.4 million in taxes while spending millions of dollars on a lavish lifestyle. . The president did not mention his son during his remarks at the fundraiser.
California (and the wealthy entertainment industry) has long been a major source of funding for Democrats, but lengthy strikes by actors and writers had a chilling effect on fundraising.
The end of labor unrest has freed up pent-up dollars, said Jeffrey Katzenberg, a movie mogul and campaign co-chairman who has become an influential voice in Biden’s effort to win re-election in November 2024.
“It will be the most successful day and a half for the campaign to date and probably one of the most successful days and a half before a general election, where things will get moving at another speed than we have ever had.” I have had here for any candidate,” Katzenberg said in an interview with Reuters.
Biden was scheduled to participate in two fundraisers in Los Angeles that were expected to include directors Steven Spielberg and Rob Reiner and musicians Barbra Streisand and Lenny Kravitz. The California tour is part of a campaign of at least nine fundraising events that Biden will hold before the end of the month.
The fundraisers in California and an earlier round in Boston are expected to raise at least $15 million, according to a source familiar with the events, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The total haul in the fourth quarter of 2023 is expected to be close to $67 million, the source said, adding that the amount will be similar to that raised by then-President Obama during the same period in 2011.
Katzenberg, who is helping organize one of the fundraisers, said the final figure is still unclear.
“The number is large. I know,” said Katzenberg, co-founder of DreamWorks Animation.
Biden made a brief stop in Las Vegas on Friday to announce $8.2 billion in funding for 10 new passenger rail projects.
“Trump just talks the talk. We stay the course,” Biden told a crowd of union carpenters there. “He likes to say that the United States is a failed nation. Frankly, he doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about. I see shovels on the ground, cranes in the sky. People working hard to rebuild America together.”
The projects, funded by the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, include $3 billion for the nation’s first high-speed rail line, which will run through California, according to a senior administration official.
Biden also announced a $3 billion investment to help create another high-speed rail corridor between Las Vegas and Southern California, along with money for projects in North Carolina, Virginia and Washington.
Biden has spent the last year crisscrossing the country announcing new funding tied to his signature laws: the infrastructure bill, the Chips and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.
It is part of an attempt to improve his popularity ratings in the polls and convince voters that he is the right person to lead the American economy, but recent public opinion polls show the effort has had little success.