Joe Biden raised money at a star-filled virtual fundraiser on Thursday that included performances by Jennifer Hudson, John Legend and Andra Day, jokes from Jay Leno, and a scathing rebuke of Donald Trump by Barbra Streisand.
“Think of how many lives could have been saved if he had paid attention to the warnings and acted earlier,” Streisand said of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a pool report. “In other words, Donald Trump is dangerous to our health. We cannot afford four more years of malice, division and lies, and neither can our planet.”
She added, “We don’t need a bully as a president who picks fights and rules by retaliation. Let’s face it: Trump is unfit mentally and morally to hold this office.”
About 600 people joined the event, which raised money for the Biden Victory Fund, a joint committee of the campaign and the Democratic National Committee, with tickets priced at $2,800 per person.
“He calls himself the law and order president, but he doesn’t obey the law, and he can’t keep the order,” Streisand also said. “This reckless man doesn’t have the wisdom or the character to lead the nation.”
Streisand is a longtime Democratic donor who has appeared at fundraising events for past nominees including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
She said that Biden was “a decent man with an open mind and an open heart. Joe Biden has the empathy we need now more than ever.”
Streisand also talked of 1968 and compared the turmoil of that year to now.
“Black lives mattered then, and they matter now,” she said. “The nation has never reckoned with the racism that brought human beings here in chains. No one should die with a knee on their neck.”
As he did earlier in the day in a speech in Philadelphia, Biden talked of ending systemic racism in the country, telling the donors, “I’m confident we’re going to do this. It’s going to be hard as hell. But the American people want it. They want it.”
Also speaking was Leno, compared Biden’s speech after his victory in the South Carolina primary was like George Bailey, Jimmy Stewart’s character in It’s a Wonderful Life. Leno said that it was like “when the whole town realizes that a truly decent man he is. If they ever remake that movie, I think we all know who’s going to play Mr. Potter.”
Legend performed What’s Going On? and, with Day, sang, The Greatest Love of All. Day then sang Rise Up, followed by Hudson with Bring Back the Music and I Know Where I’ve Been.
Other hosts of the event were producer Bruce Cohen and Claire Lucas, founder and CEO of Peasley Group.
The Republican National Committee had attacked Biden’s plans for the event by trying to tie him to calls to defund the police — something that Biden has said he does not support.
But the RNC pointed to one of Legend’s tweets, in which he wrote, “It’s not the job of grass roots activists on the left to craft political messaging for mainstream democratic candidates. I’m almost 100% sure Biden won’t be tweeting #DefundThePolice. It’s the job of activists to push these politicians toward meaningful change.”
The RNC said in an email to supporters that “they say that you’re the company you keep. For Joe Biden, out-of-touch, radical Hollywood liberals who support defunding the police and the elimination of law and order across the country. It’s only a matter of time until he takes the plunge.”