Biden woos donors, sidesteps Gaza at glitzy Westside fundraiser

President Biden’s arrival in Los Angeles for a weekend of campaign fundraising was met by both well-heeled supporters and hundreds of protesters calling for a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip. The Friday night fundraiser was held at the Holmby Hills home of former U.S. Ambassador to Spain James Costos and White House interior decorator Michael Smith. The event, which featured musician Lenny Kravitz and was co-hosted by filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Rob Reiner, marked Biden’s first appearance in Southern California since the end of the writers’ and actors’ strikes and the start of the Israel-Hamas war in October.

During an 11-minute speech at the fundraiser, Biden focused on the threat he believes Donald Trump poses to American democracy, without addressing the Gaza conflict. Meanwhile, outside the fundraiser, pro-Palestinian demonstrators called for a cease-fire and an end to U.S. financial and military aid to Israel.

Despite the tensions surrounding the conflict, more than 300 people were expected at the fundraiser, and the Biden campaign remains confident in its fundraising efforts. This visit to Los Angeles is part of an end-of-year fundraising blitz to boost Biden’s fourth-quarter haul to around $67 million. The star-studded Hollywood event attracted high-profile donors who contributed up to $929,600 to the Biden Victory Fund.

The visit comes at a time of growing division among Democrats regarding Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war. A Pew Research Center poll found that 21% of young Democrats approve of Biden’s response to the conflict, compared to 74% of older Democrats. However, campaign officials remain optimistic about Biden’s fundraising efforts, despite these divisions.

The event marked a return to in-person fundraising events in California after months of turmoil due to the writers’ and actors’ strikes. The support and enthusiasm for President Biden’s leadership have been evident, as the fundraising event drew significant interest and excitement from attendees.

In conclusion, President Biden’s visit to Los Angeles has brought high-profile donors and protesters together, highlighting the complexities and divisions within the Democratic party over his response to the Israel-Hamas war. The event has also reignited the fundraising efforts for his campaign, signaling continued support and enthusiasm for his leadership.

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