UPDATED, with details on the event: Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg hosted a small virtual fundraiser for Joe Biden on Saturday, as 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 was not a hard sell was the former Vice-President’s latest visit today to the Hollywood ATM. In Biden’s first Tinseltown event since formally securing the delegates to lock in the Democrat’s Presidential nomination earlier this month, the ex-VP followed in the footsteps of ghis former boss Barack Obama and scored some big cash from one of the Democrats’ leading donor bases. In the Quibi chief MC’d afternoon event fueled by major 10 deep pocket donors, Biden walked away digitally with nearly $6 million, according to sources.
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“It’s almost beyond belief,” Biden said Saturday to the 15 donors gathered of Trump’s extreme mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic and social crisis’ to hit the nation.. “This has got to be a wake-up call. The country is crying for leadership and for healing, and it’s time to respond with some purpose and action.”
As well as being Biden’s first Hollywood fundraiser, today was also the Katzenbergs’ first fundraiser for the ex-Veep since he became the presumptive Democratic nominee, and the event is expected to bring in a long list of top Hollywood executives.
The top bundler for Obama in both 2008 and 2012, Katzenberg introduced Biden, saying that “I think now, more than any time in my lifetime, our country needs you. Your wisdom, your knowledge, your experience is of great value, now maybe even more than ever before. With you as president, our country can become healthy, prosperous, and the land of hope and opportunity that it used to be.”
During the primary, Katzenberg spread his money around during the primary season, co-hosting events for multiple candidates. Katzenberg co-hosted the first big Hollywood fundraising event of Biden’s campaign in May of last year, as well as an event for his political action committee in October, 2018, before the former Vice President entered the race.
At Saturday’s Zoom event, organized by Andy Spahn and Jennifer Lin, Biden said at the start of his remarks, “Jeffrey, this is all your fault, getting me into this one.” Biden relayed that he had first gone to see Katzenberg to raise money, but not for himself, according to the pool 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 get somebody else.’”
During the event, Biden criticized not only Trump’s response to the coronavirus crisis, with a slew of states now reporting spikes in infections, but the administration’s move in court to repeal Obamacare.
“Just imagine if Trump actually had a plan to reopen the economy safely instead of just ordering his staff to hide the truth,” Biden said.
Later, Biden told the crowd that Trump “hasn’t done any of what needs to be done, and now he’s sending even more people back to work without a plan to safely reopen, hanging the open sign in the economy, crossing his fingers and telling his staff to slow down testing.”
“You know, you can’t wish this away,” he said. “Cases are still rising. People are still dying. Frontline workers will unfortunately be on the front lines a long, long time. And as president I’m going to make sure I have their backs.”
With the Real Clear Politics polling average showing that he holds a 9 point lead nationally, Biden also urged the group to help him win back Democratic control of the Senate, telling them, “We got to win back a Democratic Senate or we’re going to really be in trouble.”
Katzenberg has been one of the Democratic party’s most prolific donors and bundlers, raising millions in recent cycles for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s presidential race. 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 fundraising and grip and grin photo lines, Biden has been able to raise huge sums via virtual events. A fundraiser with Barack Obama earlier this week raised $11 million, with $7.6 million coming from small-dollar donations.
The virtual events also have made it a bit easier to tap celebrities for fundraisers. John Legend, Barbra Streisand, Jay Leno, Jennifer Hudson and Andra Day appeared at an event for the campaign on June 11, raising about $2 million, according to a source.
Biden outraised Donald Trump in May, drawing $80.8 million to the president’s haul of $74 million. The money on both sides went to joint candidate-party committees, allowing them to raise six figure sums from individual donors.
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