UPDATED, with details about the event: Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg organized a small virtual fundraiser for Joe Biden on Saturday, when the candidate told the Hollywood crowd that Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus was something that “you guys would have trouble making a movie and selling it.”
What wasn’t difficult to sell was the former vice president’s last visit today to the Hollywood ATM. At Biden’s first event in Tinseltown since he formally secured delegates to secure the Democratic presidential nomination earlier this month, the former vice president followed in the footsteps of his former boss Barack Obama and obtained some cash from one of the Democrats’ main donor bases. At the Quibi Chief MC’d afternoon event powered by the top 10 pocket donors, Biden left digitally with nearly $ 6 million, according to sources.
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“It’s almost unbelievable,” Biden told the 15 donors gathered Saturday about Trump’s extreme mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic and social crisis’ to hit the nation … “This must be a call. of care. The country is crying for leadership and healing, and it is time to respond with some purpose and action. “
In addition to being Biden’s first Hollywood fundraiser, he was also the first Katzenbergs fundraiser for the former Veep today since he became the alleged Democratic nominee, and the event is expected to bring a long list of top Hollywood executives.
Katzenberg, Obama’s top provider in 2008 and 2012, introduced Biden and said, “I think now, more than at any other time in my life, our country needs you.” His wisdom, his knowledge, his experience is of great value, now perhaps even more than ever. With you as president, our country can become healthy, prosperous and the land of hope and opportunity that it used to be. “
During the primaries, Katzenberg distributed his money during the primary season, organizing events for multiple candidates. Katzenberg co-hosted the first major Hollywood fundraising event for the Biden campaign in May last year, as well as an event for her political action committee in October 2018, before the former vice president entered the race.
At Saturday’s event, Biden said at the beginning of his remarks, “Jeffrey, it’s all your fault, and you got me into this.” Biden related that he had first gone to see Katzenberg to raise money, but not for himself, according to the group’s report.
“You said, ‘No, no, no, I want to talk about you doing this,'” Biden recalled. “I said, ‘No, no, no, not me, we’ll find someone else.'”
During the event, Biden criticized not only Trump’s response to the coronavirus crisis, with a number of states now reporting spikes in infections, but also the administration’s court action to repeal Obamacare.
“Imagine if Trump really had a plan to reopen the economy safely rather than just ordering his staff to hide the truth,” said Biden.
Biden later told the crowd that Trump “has done nothing of what needs to be done, and is now sending more people to work without a plan to reopen safely, hanging the open sign on the economy, crossing the fingers and tell your staff to slow down the testing. “
“You know, you can’t want this,” he said. “The cases continue to increase. People keep dying. Front line workers will unfortunately be on the front line for a long, long time. And as president, I will make sure to back them up. ”
With the Real Clear Politics poll average showing that he has a 9-point lead nationwide, Biden also urged the group to help him regain Democratic control of the Senate, telling them: “We have to regain a Democratic Senate or we are really going to be in trouble “.
Katzenberg has been one of the Democratic Party’s most prolific donors and aggregators, raising millions in recent cycles for the presidential career of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. He also gave seven-figure sums to Priorities USA Action, a super PAC that backed Obama in 2012, Clinton in 2016, and Biden this year. Katzenberg gave $ 100,000 to the super PAC in February.
Even without the in-person fundraiser and the grab and smile photography lines, Biden has been able to raise large sums through virtual events. A fundraiser with Barack Obama earlier this week raised $ 11 million, with $ 7.6 million coming from small dollar donations.
Virtual events have also made it a little easier to tap celebrities to raise funds. John Legend, Barbra Streisand, Jay Leno, Jennifer Hudson and Andra Day appeared at a campaign event on June 11, raising around $ 2 million, according to a source.
Biden outraged Donald Trump in May, drawing $ 80.8 million to the President’s $ 74 million raise. The money from both sides went to joint candidate and party committees, allowing them to raise six sums from individual donors.