Sheryl Crow, Rufus Wainwright, Jimmy Buffett, Joe Walsh and David Crosby performed for Joe Biden at a virtual fundraiser on Thursday, but the presumptive Democratic nominee turned his focus to the George Floyd protests in Minneapolis.
“We can’t ignore that we are in a country with an open wound right now,” Biden said, according to a pool report. “A wound far older and deeper than George Floyd’s killing — and his brutal, brutal death captured on film. His final words, pleading for breathe. ‘Let me breathe, I can’t breathe.’ It’s ripped open anew this this ugly underbelly of our society.”
Biden said that the officers in the Floyd case “must be held accountable,” including with the FBI investigation and independent Department of Justice civil rights investigation.
“You know, if we’re not committed as a nation, with every ounce of purpose in our beings – not just to binding up this wound in hope that somehow the scab once again will cover things over – but to treat the underlying injury, we’re never going to eventually heal,” he told the 1,200 or so who were connected to the virtual event.
Whoopi Goldberg and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) served as hosts of the fundraiser, which was billed as “Rock Out on a Night in With Vice President Joe Biden,” with donors from across the country connected to Biden at his home in Wilmington, DE.
Goldberg, co-host of The View, said of Biden, “He is not perfect. He and I share several really great things in our life. We share the ability to get ourselves in trouble. We don’t mean to, we just do. Sometimes you make a step and you’re in it. This happens. But what I do know is he is the best man to get us in a better place.”
Walsh played “Help Me Through the Night,” a song selection he said was motivated by the memory of his four-year old daughter who died in a car accident in 1974. Later, Biden said that he was moved by Walsh’s story, and referred to the accident that killed his own daughter and wife in a car accident in 1972. Biden said that the “only solace” he had was sleep, and cited Shakespeare to explain his feelings then: “I wait, she fled, and day brought back my night.”
Crow sang “A Change Will Do You Good.” She said that her two boys were asking her questions “about what is happening in Minneapolis and I’m saying, ‘Yes, we need a leader that speaks to this and demands justice.”
Wainwright sang “Going to a Town,” and Crosby sang “What Are Their Names.”
“This is going to be a really hard fight,” Crosby said. “I think it’s going to be the dirtiest fight since the Civil War and I’m really glad that you are willing to take up your sword and shield, Joe, and step into the fray.”
The evening finished with Buffett singing Come Monday, a song he said Biden had on his cell phone.
Biden has a series of fundraising events lined up through next month, all of them virtual. They include one headlined by Barbra Streisand and John Legend, scheduled for June 11.
Biden addressed criticism that he’s been at a disadvantage because of his inability to hit the campaign trail during the coronavirus crisis.
Biden said, “You know all of this stuff, you know that ‘Biden has run a virtual campaign’ well you know the other side of that is that [Donald] Trump’s been running his mouth and his campaign. And the more he talks the more we go up, I mean, literally,”
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