President Trump’s approval rating hit an all-time high during the second half of April, according to the Gallup poll. His approval rating is higher than that of President Obama’s at this time in his presidency but to hear Obama’s vice-president talk, you’d not know that. Joe Biden, in Hollywood Wednesday for some big money fundraising, told those in attendance that America is “sick and tired” of Trump.
Despite his claim that he’s just Middle-Class Joe, Biden is no stranger to passing the hat among the Hollywood elite. He frequently traveled to the capital of the entertainment world during the Obama administration and he did so during the mid-term elections in 2018. A little more than a month ago, President Trump was in the same neighborhood raising money for his own campaign. This time it was an evening hosted at the home of Obama’s former ambassador to Spain, now HBO executive James Costos and his partner Michael Smith, a former White House interior designer. Tickets went for $2,500 to $10,000. The attendance number is reported as 300 people. Richard Blum, investment banker and husband of Senator Dianne Feinstein, was a co-host.
Biden guaranteed that if a Democrat is elected in the 2020 presidential race, in particular, himself, America will come together again. He told the crowd, which included former California Senator Barbara Boxer and designer Tom Ford, along with “Meathead” Rob Reiner, that Americans are “sick and tired of what’s happening.” With him in the Oval Office, everyone would be able to hold their heads high.
Hitting the unity theme hard and the current President harder by inference in front of a 300-strong audience that included co-hosts Jeffrey Katzenberg, super-agent Chris Silbermann, Rob Reiner and spouse Michelle, plus mogul Byron Allen, former California Senator Barbra Boxer, Legion’s Aubrey Plaza, Tom Ford, UTA Communications boss Seth Oster and ex-William Morris CEO Jim Wiatt, Oval Office hopeful Biden swore the Trump administration was aberration in American history.
“Because people tired, they’re sick and tired of what’s happening,” the candidate declared. “Let’s lift our heads up. Again, not a joke, remember who the hell we are. And let’s go take it back.”
Not everyone in the neighborhood was thrilled with the event, held outdoors, though. Protesters showed up, and some broke into a chant.
About dozen protesters from the National Union of Healthcare Workers were outside the event, and they held signs and chanted “Kaiser, Kaiser, you can’t hide. We can see your greedy side.” The union represents Kaiser’s 3,500 mental health clinicians in California.
Nonetheless, Biden persisted. He hit the usual talking points but said it was President Trump’s handling of the Charlottesville, Virginia rally and its aftermath that forced him out of retirement. Also, Biden acknowledged that many of those in attendance told him he had no choice but to run against Trump.
In his approximately 20-minute speech, Biden touched on a number of topics such as working to help the middle class that have been common theme for him the past several months and more so since he jumped into the field of more than 20 Democrats vying for the party’s nomination in late April. Currently the frontrunner, the ex-Veep revealed that a dozen of those at Costos and Smith’s on Wednesday night had urged him to take on Trump.
“You don’t have a choice: run,” Biden recounted being told, “this is not about you.” The seasoned and self-deprecating politician added to laughs that he responded to the “run Joe, run” conversations with a “Thank you very much.”
Earlier in the day, Biden attended a luncheon fundraiser and also a public event with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. The Hollywood crowd is slow to choose a favorite to support this time around. The field of candidates is so large and relationships have formed from past campaigns so it’s a wait-and-see scenario right now. Some of those clapping for Biden Wednesday night also hosted fundraisers for other candidates running in the 2020 Democrat presidential primary.
The one difference is that this year, showbiz figures are taking their time to commit to one candidate. Jeffrey Katzenberg, who hosted Biden for an event for his political action committee last October, has co-hosted for Kamala Harris and will do so for Cory Booker, who has a fundraiser planned for May 29. Even the hosts of Biden’s big event, James Costos and Michael Smith, also are hosts of the Booker event.
A lot has to do with longtime personal relationships that donors have with individual candidates that extend back to prior congressional campaigns or, in Booker’s case, his days as the prominent mayor of Newark. But the sheer number of candidates — 23 and counting — also has made potential donors a bit more hesitant to commit, at least until the contours of the race are clearer. A number of donors say that they are looking to the first Democratic debate for clarity.
While some of the Democrat candidates are generating headlines as they sign on to not doing big money fundraising events and pandering to big donors, like Elizabeth Warren makes a point of doing, Biden is doing it the old-school way. He’s tapping into Democrat networking from the Obama days and his longtime Senate career before that. When he tells his moneyed supporters that he wants to take America back for them, he means going back to the days of political cronyism and the Obama administration. With the economy booming, thanks to the policies put into action by President Trump, a businessman, not a career politician, Biden’s longing for the good old days may play well in Hollywood but will be a tougher sell outside the world of scripted fantasy. It’s his third run for president, though, and Senator Kamala Harris is a favorite by other Californians. She raised the most money from Californians in the first quarter of 2019.
Biden’s wishes to go back to the days of yore are apparent in his doom and gloom prediction that if President Trump is re-elected, America will be permanently changed, especially in foreign policy.
“Four years of this president will be an aberration in a moment in history; eight years will fundamentally change who we are beginning particularly in foreign policy,” he said.
Joe Biden has a reputation for being wrong about foreign policy throughout his long Senate career. He fancies himself a foreign policy expert. To put him in charge of America’s place in the world should be enough to scare away any reasonable voter. Remember he was touted for his foreign policy expertise when he was chosen by Obama to be his vice-president. How’d that work out? No one wants to take that back.