You would think that while preparing for a town hall-style event focused solely on climate change, a presidential candidate’s staff might mention that a fundraiser the very next day is being hosted by a fossil fuel industry executive. That is, assuming the candidate prepared for the event.
CNN devoted seven hours to some of the Democrats running for their party’s presidential nomination. It turned out to be one long in-kind donation to the re-election of President Trump. I was able to dip in and out of a couple of the candidate’s interviews and oh, boy. What an experience that turned out to be. The candidates are hell-bent to out-crazy one another when it comes to grandiose ideas about saving the planet. There is no idea too outlandish for them and no limit to taxpayer money they are willing to commit to it.
Joe Biden was first up during the prime time hours – 7:00 P.M. Central Time. His host was Anderson Cooper. The lesser candidates went first in the late afternoon time slots with host Wolf Blitzer. The three candidates with an actual shot at the Democrat nomination – Biden, Sanders, and Warren – were among those in prime time. Biden went first because I assume he had an early bedtime to get to.
Things took an awkward turn when Cooper questioned Biden about a fundraiser scheduled for Thursday co-hosted by Andrew Goldman, a co-founder of Western LNG. LNG is liquified natural gas. Natural gas is brought to us by the fossil fuel industry. Liquefied natural gas is natural gas that has been cooled down to liquid form to make it easy and safe for non-pressurized storage or transport. Western LNG, according to the company’s website is a Houston-based energy company that delivers affordable Canadian natural gas to overseas markets.
Uncle Joe feigned ignorance, or maybe it isn’t an act, and when Anderson Cooper explained Goldman’s tie to the fossil fuel industry, Biden said he’d look into that. He said he’d been assured that Goldman wasn’t an energy sector executive.
The former vice president told the CNN host Anderson Cooper that Mr. Goldman was not listed as an executive in fossil fuel company filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “That’s what we look at,’’ Mr. Biden said.
Mr. Cooper, who seemed apprised in advance of the issue raised by the audience member, pressed Mr. Biden, saying Mr. Goldman “has a company called Western LNG” that announced it was building an offshore terminal in western Canada to export natural gas.
“Well, I didn’t realize he does that,’’ Mr. Biden replied. “I’m going to look at what you just told me and find out if that’s accurate.’
A senior adviser to Biden’s campaign, Symone D. Sanders, quickly tweeted out that Cooper had it wrong and Goldman isn’t an executive in the company.
What @andersoncooper just said about VP Biden's fundraiser is factually incorrect. Andrew Goldman isn't a fossil fuel executive. He's not involved in the day to day operation. He's not on the board of the company, nor the board of the portfolio company.
— Symone D. Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) September 5, 2019
That’s an interesting take from the campaign. Looking at the website, under the “About” tab, Andrew Goldman is described as a founder of the company. His background is described as one in finance and investment. Are we to believe that he simply founded a company using his background in investments in the energy sector and then just faded into the background? Maybe but that doesn’t sound logical.
There is this little nugget on that website page, too. He’s no stranger to Biden.
Prior to founding De Cordova Goldman Holdings, Mr. Goldman served as an advisor to Senator Joseph R. Biden III until his inauguration as Vice President of the United States in early 2009.
It all just sounds fishy. It sounds like Team Biden got caught trying to dance around the perimeters of the agreement all the Democrat candidates signed onto, a No Fossil Fuel Money pledge.
David Turnbull, a spokesman for the group Oil Change U.S., which is involved in the “No Fossil Fuel Money” pledge that Mr. Biden and other candidates have signed, said that while the fund-raiser with Mr. Goldman “may not technically violate the ‘No Fossil Fuel Money’ pledge as we have defined it, it pretty clearly goes against the spirit of the pledge.”
“We defined the rules of the pledge with the intent of making it easier for candidates to live up to it, not to provide loopholes for candidates to exploit in order to keep raising funding from fossil fuel related sources,” Mr. Turnbull said.
At the end of Biden’s segment of the televised event, Anderson Cooper tried one last time to get a straight answer out of Biden about his relationship with Goldman as a fundraiser. He threw his staff under the bus.
At the end of Mr. Biden’s segment during the climate forum, which included 10 top Democratic presidential candidates, Mr. Cooper returned to the topic to clarify that Mr. Goldman “currently doesn’t have day to day responsibilities” in the gas exporter.
Mr. Biden said his campaign vets every contribution.
“What I was told by my staff is that he did not have any responsibility related to the company,” he said, referring to Mr. Goldman. “He was not on the board, he was not involved at all in the operation of the company at all. But if that turns out to be true, then I will not in any way accept his help.”
Symone Sanders played clean-up on Twitter. Here’s the clip of the final attempt by Cooper to get an answer from Biden.
At the end of VP Biden’s time on stage, Anderson Cooper clarified that Andrew Goldman is in fact NOT a fossil fuel exec. pic.twitter.com/Ryn7zxQFiM
— Symone D. Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) September 5, 2019
Joe’s going to have to get better on his feet than that when he gets blindsided by a question. He is still a bad candidate, even after decades of serving in elected office. He truly is the Hillary Clinton of 2020.