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Clooney, Roberts help Biden raise more than $30 million at star-studded Hollywood gala

Some of Hollywood’s biggest stars headlined a fundraiser for President Joe Biden that raised a record more than $30 million for a Democratic candidate, according to his campaign. hoping to energize what they say are potential supporters of the White House race.

George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Barbra Streisand, among others, took to the stage at the 7,100-seat Peacock Theater in Los Angeles on Saturday night. Late night host Jimmy Kimmel interviewed Biden and former President Barack Obama, who both emphasized the need to defeat former President Donald Trump in what is expected to be a very close race.

During the more than half-hour discussion, Kimmel asked whether the country suffered from amnesia about the presumptive Republican nominee, to which Biden responded, “All we have to do is remember what it was like when Trump was in the White House.” .

Celebrities from the entertainment industry are increasingly lining up to lend a hand to Biden’s campaign, an activity evident in Biden’s decision to fly overnight across nine time zones, from the G7 summit in southern Italy to the South How important it is to his re-election campaign.

He also missed a summit in Switzerland on how to end Russia’s war in Ukraine, instead sending Vice President Kamala Harris on a whirlwind trip there on behalf of the United States, a stark reminder of the geopolitical tensions with Biden. There is a delicate balance between efforts.

Police in riot gear outside the theater further revealed the political fallout. A group of protesters angry over the Biden administration’s handling of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza demonstrated nearby.

The fundraiser included performances by Jack Black and Sheryl Lee Ralph, actors Kathryn Hahn and Jason Bateman introduced Kimmel, and Kimmel himself introduced Biden and Obama. The comedian deadpanned, “I was told I was introduced by Batman, not Bateman.”

But he quickly pivoted to more serious topics, saying “there’s so much at stake in this election” and listed women’s rights, health care and noting that “it’s even on the ballot,” referring to the Biden administration’s call to expand Voting rights.

Kimmel asked the president what his proudest achievement was, and Biden said he believed the administration’s economic approach “is working.”

“We have the strongest economy in the world today,” Biden said, adding, “We work hard to give ordinary people an equal opportunity.”

Trump campaigned in Detroit on Saturday and criticized Biden’s handling of the economy and inflation. Trump campaign spokesperson Carolyn Leavitt said the president is raising money “with elite Hollywood celebrities who are out of touch with reality.”

But Biden told the crowd in California, “We passed every major piece of legislation that we tried to get done.” Obama’s moves on health care, public works, the environment, technology manufacturing, gun safety and other major initiatives overseen by the former vice president’s administration expressed admiration for the comprehensive legislation.

“What we’re seeing now is a byproduct of 2016,” said Obama, who, like Biden, was wearing a dark suit and white shirt with an open collar. shirt. .

“Hopefully we’ve learned our lesson because these elections have very specific implications,” Obama added of the Supreme Court.

Trump nominated three justices who helped overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision guaranteeing the constitutional right to abortion. The audience expressed displeasure at Roy’s mention, and Obama responded: “Don’t hiss, vote.” It was a play on his usual “vote over boo” argument.

Biden said that whoever is elected president in November may have the opportunity to nominate two new justices, but given that conservatives currently hold a 6-3 majority, Biden may not overhaul the court in his second term.

He also said that “one of the scariest parts” if Trump returns to the White House is the Supreme Court, which has “never been so out of step.”

Biden also mentioned reports that in January 2021, an upside-down flag flew outside the home of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, a symbol associated with Trump’s false claims of election fraud.

Throughout the evening, Kimmel displayed his unique sense of humor. At one point, he asked a president how to get back at a talk show host who made fun of him every night on television.

“Ever heard of Delta Force?” Biden responded, referring to the Army’s Special Operations Forces.

Earlier in the show, Kimmel pointed to Biden’s campaign promise to restore America’s soul and said “lately it seems like we may need an exorcism.” He then asked Biden: “Is this why you visited the pope?” Biden and Pope Francis met in Italy on Friday.

The amount raised surpassed Biden’s then-record $26 million at a March fundraiser at New York’s Radio City Music Hall, where late-night host Stephen Colbert interviewed Biden, Obama and former President Bill Clinton .

Biden holds an early lead in the campaign finance race against Trump, but the former president has made progress since officially locking up the Republican nomination.

In April, Trump raised $50.5 million at a gathering of major donors at billionaire investor John Paulson’s Florida home, surpassing Biden’s event in New York. The former president’s campaign and the Republican National Committee announced they raised as much as $141 million in May, adding to tens of millions of dollars in donations that flowed in after Trump was found guilty in a criminal hush-money trial.

The post-conviction surge comes after Trump and Republicans announced they raised $76 million in April, far exceeding the $51 million that Biden and Democrats raised that month.

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