Biden sets $25 million fundraising record with Clinton, Obama

By Colleen Long and Chris Megerian | Associated Press

NEW YORK — A fundraiser for President Joe Biden on Thursday in New York City that also stars Barack Obama and Bill Clinton is raising a whopping $25 million, setting a record for the biggest haul for a political event, his campaign said.

The eye-popping amount was a major show of Democratic support for Biden at a time of persistently low poll numbers. The president will test the power of the campaign cash as he faces off with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who has already proved with his 2016 win over Democrat Hillary Clinton that he didn’t need to raise the most money to seize the presidency.

The Radio City Music Hall event will be a gilded exclamation mark on a recent burst of presidential campaign travel. Biden has visited several political battlegrounds in the three weeks since his State of the Union address served as a rallying cry for his reelection bid. The event also brings together more than three decades of Democratic leadership.

Obama hitched a ride from Washington to New York aboard Air Force One with Biden. They waved as they descended the plane’s steps at John F. Kennedy International Airport and got into the motorcade for the ride into Manhattan. Clinton was expected to meet the other two presidents at the event.

The hourslong fundraiser has different tiers of access depending on donors’ generosity. The centerpiece is an onstage conversation with the three presidents, moderated by late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert. There’s also a lineup of musical performers — Queen Latifah, Lizzo, Ben Platt, Cynthia Erivo and Lea Michele — that will be hosted by actress Mindy Kaling. Thousands are expected, and tickets are as low as $225.

More money gets donors more intimate time with the presidents. A photo with all three is $100,000. A donation of $250,000 earns donors access to one reception, and $500,000 gets them into an even more exclusive gathering.

“But the party doesn’t stop there,” according to the campaign. First lady Jill Biden and DJ D-Nice are hosting an after-party at Radio City Music Hall with 500 guests.

Obama and Clinton are helping Biden expand his already significant cash advantage over Trump. Biden had $155 million in cash on hand through the end of February, compared with $37 million for Trump and his Save America political action committee.

The $25 million tally for the New York City event Thursday includes money from supporters who handed over cash in the weeks ahead of the fundraiser for a chance to attend. It’s raising $5 million more than Trump raised during February.

“This historic raise is a show of strong enthusiasm for President Biden and Vice President Harris and a testament to the unprecedented fundraising machine we’ve built,” said campaign co-chair Jeffrey Katzenberg. “Unlike our opponent, every dollar we’re raising is going to reach the voters who will decide this election — communicating the president’s historic record, his vision for the future and laying plain the stakes of this election.”

Trump has kept a low profile in recent weeks, partially because of courtroom appearances for various legal cases, the bills for which he’s paying with funds from donors. He is also expected to be in the area on Thursday, attending the Long Island wake of a New York City police officer who was shot and killed during a traffic stop in Queens.

His next political rally is scheduled for Tuesday in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Some Republican leaders have become concerned that his campaign doesn’t have the infrastructure ready for a general election battle with Biden.

Steven Cheung, a Trump campaign spokesperson, dismissed the import of Biden’s Thursday fundraiser.