According to Deadline, President Joe Biden delivered a compelling address at a fundraiser held at the Holmby Hills residence of designer Michael Smith and former ambassador James Costos. Speaking to a crowd of donors, many of whom supported him in the previous campaign, Biden underscored their role in making Donald Trump a former president. The event served as an opportunity for Biden to shift his focus towards his likely 2024 rival, Trump, warning attendees about the perceived threat he poses to democracy.
During his remarks, Biden emphasized the critical nature of the upcoming election, stating that he believes the future of democracy is at stake. He pointedly described Trump as the greatest threat to democracy, suggesting that the loss of democracy would result in losing everything.
The fundraiser was not without external elements, as a large group of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered outside the security perimeter, near Holmby Hills Park. Videos on social media captured demonstrators attempting to surround cars and chanting slogans such as “ceasefire now” and “free Palestine.” The protesters accused the president of supporting genocide. The atmosphere was marked by the sounds of sirens and helicopters as police officers escorted attendees into the event.
Biden also touched upon Trump’s behavior on January 6, 2021, during the attack on the Capitol, describing it as despicable. He added a facetious remark about Trump not showing up at his next inauguration. Biden referenced Trump’s recent comments to Sean Hannity, where the former president mentioned being a dictator for only one day if re-elected, intending to close the border and expand drilling. Biden responded sarcastically, highlighting Trump’s willingness to embrace political violence.
Notably, the president did not address the Israel-Hamas war during the event, speaking for approximately 11 minutes according to the pool report. First Lady Jill Biden expressed her gratitude for having Joe Biden as president during uncertain times and encouraged the crowd to recall their feelings after Trump’s 2016 victory.
The event’s co-hosts included prominent figures such as Steven Spielberg, Shonda Rhimes, Rob Reiner, Peter Chernin, and Jim Gianopulos. Lenny Kravitz was scheduled to perform, and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced President Biden. Other political figures in attendance included California Governor Gavin Newsom, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, with Rick Caruso, Bass’s rival in the previous year’s election, serving as a co-host.
Security measures were heightened by the LAPD and Secret Service in anticipation of protests. Last month, pro-Palestinian demonstrators had protested outside a Los Angeles fundraiser featuring Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff. President Biden’s weekend of fundraising commenced with this Hollywood-centric event, reflecting the heightened political atmosphere and the significance of upcoming elections.