President Joe Biden kicked off his second day of fundraising in Los Angeles on Saturday with another series of multimillion-dollar events organized by the president’s most ardent Hollywood supporters.
“The excitement and enthusiasm for having President Biden is front and center, and at present just couldn’t be higher,” Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, co-chair of Biden’s reelection campaign, told TheWrap in an interview. “People have missed him.”
The president has largely avoided fundraising in Tinseltown because of the writers’ and actors’ strikes. With the strikes now settled, the so-called “Hollywood ATM” is back in action.
Katzenberg — who is hosting his own Biden fundraising event on Saturday evening with wife Marilyn — said he predicts that the “six or seven events” in the L.A. area this weekend will be “the single most successful day-and-a-half since he announced he was running for reelection. Maybe it will end up being one of the most successful events here in L.A.”
With tickets selling for as much as a staggering $929,600 per person — benefitting Biden’s reelection campaign as well as the Democratic National Committee and state Democratic parties across the country — Katzenberg noted that every event is sold out.
“He hasn’t been here since he announced he was running for reelection,” Katzenberg said. “So the demand is really at a level that I don’t think I’ve ever experienced before.”
Biden and his wife Jill attended their first gathering at the home of celebrity decorator Michael Smith and former U.S. Ambassador to Spain James Costos on Friday afternoon.
According to the invite to the Costos/Smith event, $6,600 per person will be allocated to the Biden for President campaign, with the first $3,300 designated for the primary and the next $3,300 for the general election. The next $41,300-per-person will be allocated to the DNC. The next $510,000 per person will be split equally among Democratic state parties.
Other attendees included Gov. Gavin Newsom, Rep. Adam Schiff and L.A. Mayor Karen Bass.
Katzenberg called the Costos/Smith Friday night gathering “one of the top events out here, period.”
“Really, it’s almost unprecedented,” added Katzenberg.
The massive fundraising haul is noteworthy, Katzenberg said, because “we’re not yet in the election year.”
Biden arrived at the Smith/Costos event Friday with a crowd of pro-Palestinian protesters rallying nearby against the president’s ardent support of Israel. Inside the couple’s estate, the president’s remarks were largely focused on the “threat” Trump poses to democracy, according to a White House pool report.
“Literally, I believe, the future of American Democracy is at stake,” Biden told the crowd, according to the report. “The greatest threat Trump poses is to our democracy, because if we lost that, we lose everything.”
During the gathering, Biden recalled the video of a Jan. 6 scene of Trump sitting in the White House dining room as a mob of his supporters “searched the Capitol threatening to murder his own vice president.”
“It’s despicable,” Biden said. “It’s simply despicable.”
Biden added that his supporters at these fundraising events are “the reason that Donald Trump is a former president — or, he hates when I say it, a defeated president.”
Biden also told the Hollywood crowd that Trump likes to describe his opponents as “vermin,” language reminiscent of Nazi Germany.
“He embraces political violence instead of rejecting it,” Biden said, adding, “Listen to the words he’s saying… We will be one of those generations that can say, ‘We saved democracy.’”
Those words are not mere hyperbole, according to John Emerson — former President Barack Obama’s ambassador to Germany — who attended the Smith/Costos event with his wife, Kimberly Marteau Emerson.
“This is an existential election. It is about more than keeping a president who has done an amazing job since he has been in office. It also is about protecting and preserving democracy,” Emerson told TheWrap. “The elections we’ve seen in the last four or five years have been incredibly close. It is crucial to raise the money earlier to invest in the ground operations in those key critical states.”
Marteau Emerson added: “The election is less than a year away. It is time to go. We absolutely need to do whatever we can to support Biden returning to office.”