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Biden looks to capitalize on star-studded Hollywood fundraiser after Trump's massive cash haul in blue state

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Biden looks to capitalize on star-studded Hollywood fundraiser after Trump's massive cash haul in blue state

After a lucrative three-day swing by former President Trump through California, President Biden returns to the West Coast to tap into the Democratic-dominated state’s political ATM.

With less than five months to go until the November election, late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel will interview Biden and former President Obama as they team up with Hollywood heavyweights George Clooney and Julia Roberts at a star-studded fundraiser that’s expected to haul in millions.

It’s the latest case of national politicians coming to California to pad their campaign coffers. According to figures from the Federal Election Commission, Biden and Trump have raked in more money in California this cycle than from any other state.

“When politicians look to the west, they see a field of green,” veteran California-based political scientist Jack Pitney at Claremont McKenna College told Fox News.

TRUMP HAULS IN PLENTY OF GREEN DURING SWING THROUGH BLUE BASTION

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President Biden and former President Trump have both hauled in millions at fundraising events in California as they face off in their 2024 election rematch. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson and Evan Vucci)

Tickets for the gala at the Peacock Theater in downtown Los Angeles, which an invitation described as a “historic night,” ranged from $250 for a single person to get in the door to half a million dollars for special access, photos with Biden and Obama and invitations to an after-party.

The president arrives in California one week after Trump left the Golden State.

Trump’s team said that when all the money is counted, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee was expected to haul in roughly $27.5 million from three fundraisers in California and one in Las Vegas, a senior campaign official told Fox News.

WHY TRUMP’S SAN FRANCISCO FUNDRAISER WAS FRUITFUL IN MORE THAN ONE WAY

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And the Trump campaign said an additional $6 million was raised for outside groups supporting his 2024 election rematch with Biden.

Trump has been aiming to close his fundraising gap with Biden. In April, his campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC) for the first time raised more than the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee. 

Trump’s campaign announced a week ago it and the RNC, fueled in part by the former president’s guilty verdicts in his recently concluded criminal trial, hauled in a stunning $141 million in May.

Donald Trump appears in Manhattan Criminal Court

Former President Trump appears in Manhattan Criminal Court May 30, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, Pool)

Trump was found guilty of all 34 felony counts in the first trial of a former or current president in the nation’s history.

The former president’s campaign noted that in the first 24 hours following the verdict, it and the RNC brought in nearly $53 million, which counted toward May’s total. 

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The Biden campaign has also been raising money off the Trump verdict, and a source told Fox News “the 24 hours after the verdict were one of the best fundraising 24 hours of the Biden campaign since launch.”

While Trump’s California fundraising haul was fueled by top-dollar GOP donors, including tech industry investors and hedge fund giants, Saturday’s fundraising for Biden is being orchestrated by the Democratic Hollywood machine.

It’s no surprise. The entertainment industry, which showered presidents Clinton and Obama with campaign cash, has long been known for its Democratic leanings.

Biden, Obama and Clinton.

Former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and President Biden. (Getty Images)

And while the 81-year-old Biden doesn’t have the tight relationships with Hollywood that his Democratic predecessors enjoyed, he can still draw a crowd.

“Any Democratic presidential candidate is going to be able to raise a lot of money in California, and an incumbent president has a big advantage. When the president enters a room, it fills up with cash,” Pitney said.

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Major strikes by two Hollywood labor unions representing film and television writers and actors from May through November of last year delayed Biden from raising money in Los Angeles entertainment circles.

But the president started making up for lost time in December with a major fundraiser hosted by famed directors Steven Spielberg and Rob Reiner. Saturday’s mega-fundraiser was orchestrated by media mogul and Democratic rainmaker Jeffrey Katzenberg, who’s a Biden campaign co-chair.

Katzenberg also put together a major fundraiser with Biden, Obama and Clinton in March at New York City’s famed Radio City Music Hall, which raked in $26 million.

The Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee have enlisted the help of plenty of stars and well-known performers from the entertainment world as the president runs for a second term.

Among those lending a hand is famed actor Robert De Niro, who headlined a Biden campaign news conference outside the New York City courthouse during the final days of Trump’s trial. 

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The news conference went viral after De Niro, who portrayed mobsters in such cinematic masterpieces as “The Godfather Part II” and “Goodfellas,” screamed at nearby Trump supporters that “You are gangsters” as they yelled obscenities at the actor.

Actor Mark Hamill, who portrayed Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars saga, made a recent unannounced appearance at the White House briefing room to praise the president and called Biden “Joe-Bi-Wan-Kenobi.”

Spielberg has helped the DNC with its storytelling efforts, and Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer campaigned with Vice President Kamala Harris on a recent swing through battleground Michigan.

Trump, whose final California fundraiser took place last weekend at a tony gated community in upscale Newport Beach, California, and included veteran actor Jon Voight, will spend this weekend in Michigan, holding multiple events, including a roundtable discussion at a northwest Detroit church.

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Trump hauls in big bucks during California fundraising swing

Supporters of former President Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, react to his motorcade on the day he visits to raise money in Newport Beach, Calif., June 8, 2024. (REUTERS/David Swanson)

The Trump campaign argued the former president will be meeting with “everyday Americans” while “Biden will be at a glitzy fundraiser in Hollywood with his elitist, out-of-touch celebrity benefactors that own him.”

The Trump campaign and Republican allies also criticized the president for skipping a peace conference on Ukraine being held this weekend in Switzerland to appear at the California fundraiser. Vice President Kamala Harris will represent the U.S. at the peace talks.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

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Politics

House unanimously votes to create Trump assassination attempt commission

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House unanimously votes to create Trump assassination attempt commission

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The House of Representatives unanimously voted to establish a bipartisan commission to investigate the attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump.

No lawmakers voted “no” nor “present,” and 416 voted “yes.” Ten Democrats and six Republicans did not vote.

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The task force will be comprised of seven Republicans and six Democrats, with the members likely being announced this week.

House GOP leaders raced the bill to the floor after the deadly shooting at Trump’s Butler, Pennsylvania, rally nearly two weeks ago. One attendee died, and two others were injured, with Trump himself getting shot in the ear and evacuated off the stage by the Secret Service.

TRUMP SHOOTING: TIMELINE OF ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW GUNMAN EVADED SECURITY

Former President Donald Trump is seen with blood on his face surrounded by Secret Service agents as he is taken off the stage at a campaign event at Butler Farm Show Inc. in Butler, Pennsylvania, July 13, 2024. (Rebecca Droke/AFP via Getty Images)

The vote was bipartisan, as expected — the hours following the shooting prompted a flurry of bipartisan condemnations against political violence, as well as scrutiny of the security situation that allowed a 20-year-old gunman with a rifle onto a rooftop just outside the rally perimeter.

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“The security failures that allowed an assassination attempt on Donald Trump’s life are shocking. In response to bipartisan demands for answers, we are announcing a House Task Force made up of seven Republicans and six Democrats to thoroughly investigate the matter,” Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said in a joint statement on Tuesday. “The task force will be empowered with subpoena authority and will move quickly to find the facts, ensure accountability, and make certain such failures never happen again.”

FBI DIRECTOR WRAY REVEALS 5 KEY DETAILS ABOUT TRUMP SHOOTERS’ STASH OF EXPLOSIVES, WEAPONS

Speaker Johnson and Leader Jeffries

Speaker Mike Johnson and Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries are leading the task force assembly as a bipartisan effort. (Getty Images)

The resolution was led by Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., whose district the shooting took place in and who was in attendance but unharmed.

Johnson told Fox News Digital in an interview last week that he wanted the panel to reach a conclusion as soon as possible — in part, at least, “so that people don’t make up their minds about some conspiracy theory or some sinister plot.”

DETAILS ABOUT HOW TRUMP SHOOTER SCALED BUTLER RALLY ROOF EMERGE IN FBI DIRECTOR CHRISTOPHER WRAY TESTIMONY

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Rep. Mike Kelly on Capitol Hill

Rep. Mike Kelly led the resolution to establish the commission. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

“Some of those rumors have begun already, and we have to address that immediately,” he said “The idea of a task force is that we can have sort of a precision group or unit that goes to work on this immediately. It’ll be bipartisan and will have subpoena authority. I think that’s going to be very important to get the answers as quickly as possible.”

The bipartisan scrutiny of the security situation forced U.S. Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle to resign on Tuesday.

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Biden's address to the nation: 'I revere this office, but I love my country more'

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Biden's address to the nation: 'I revere this office, but I love my country more'

Saying, “I revere this office, but I love my country more,” President Biden formally announced the end of his bid for a second term in office with a nationally televised address from the White House on Wednesday evening.

Biden said that while his record was strong, he felt compelled to unite the Democratic Party and to throw his support behind Vice President Kamala Harris.

“I believe my record as president — my leadership in the world, my vision for America’s future — all merited a second term,” Biden said. “But nothing can come in the way of saving our democracy. That includes personal ambition.

“So I decided the best way forward is to pass the torch to a new generation. It’s the best way to unite our nation.”

Placing himself at the end of a long chain of American leaders, Biden mentioned presidents from George Washington to Franklin D. Roosevelt. Twice he noted that he was speaking from behind the Resolute Desk — a gift of Britain’s Queen Victoria that has been used by nearly every president since the 1880s.

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Biden’s family watched from just off camera, while hundreds of administration staff members attended a White House viewing party. Harris watched the address in Houston, where she was staying overnight after visiting the city’s emergency operations center for a briefing on recovery efforts following Hurricane Beryl.

Although the 11-minute speech did not mention Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, implicit throughout was the threat Biden contends his opponent poses. (That claim stems largely from Trump’s attempt to reverse the results of the 2020 election, which he lost to Biden.)

“The defense of democracy, which is at stake, is more important than a title,” he said. “It’s not about me, it’s about you … your families, your futures. It’s about ‘we the people.’ We can never forget that and I never have.”

Biden gave a long list of his accomplishments, saying he had pulled the country out of “the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression” — caused by the COVID-19 pandemic — and signed laws that strengthened gun regulations and capped the price of prescription drugs for senior citizens.

He pledged to keep working hard in his final six months in office, saying he hoped to end the war in Gaza and bring home hostages held by Hamas; to strengthen NATO, in support of Ukraine and other nations, and to bring reforms to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Toward the end of his remarks, he endorsed Harris. “She’s experienced. She’s tough. She’s capable,“ Biden said. “She’s been an incredible partner to me and the leader for our country.”

At one point he struck a highly personal note.

“Nowhere else on Earth could a kid with a stutter, from modest beginnings … one day sit behind the Resolute Desk, in the Oval Office, as president of the United States. Here I am,” he said. “That’s what’s so special about America. We’re a nation of promise and possibilities, of dreamers and doers, of ordinary Americans doing extraordinary things.”

Only last week, Biden had scoffed at the notion he would leave the race. Speaking at the NAACP’s national convention in Las Vegas, he called out to the audience: “So let me ask you, are you all in?” The loud response: “All in!” To which Biden retorted: “Because I’m all in!”

But just a day later, on July 17, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank) joined those calling on Biden to step aside, saying “it is time to pass the torch” to new leaders in the Democratic Party. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) also reportedly informed Biden that she thought he could not win the Nov. 5 election.

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Political observers said the views of the two Californians were crucial to Biden’s decision, announced Sunday, to drop out of his rematch with Trump. Biden had been in Rehoboth Beach, Del., recovering from COVID-19 since last Thursday when he made the decision to withdraw.

He quickly threw his support behind Harris, saying that picking her as his running mate in 2020 was “the best decision I’ve made.” He added: “It’s time to come together and beat Trump.”

Democratic officials and rank-and-file members quickly coalesced around the vice president, making her the all-but-certain presidential nominee when the party holds its convention in Chicago, starting Aug. 19.

Harris also got good news from her campaign treasurer: She raised $81 million in the 24 hours after Biden announced that he would not seek another term — the largest campaign haul over that period in history.

The closest parallel to Biden’s speech in modern times came more than half a century ago, when President Lyndon B. Johnson used a televised address from the White House to say that he would not seek a second full term in the White House.

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Johnson spent all but the waning moments of a nearly 41-minute address, given in March 1968, to discuss America’s struggles in the Vietnam War, reiterating his offer to the North Vietnamese to begin peace talks.

He said that the nation had become too divided over the war in Southeast Asia. Given the momentous decisions he faced overseeing the war and peace talks, Johnson said, “I do not believe that I should devote an hour or a day of my time to any personal partisan causes or to any duties other than the awesome duties of this office — the presidency of your country.”

“Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your president,” Johnson concluded.

By stepping back, Johnson opened the door to a hard-fought contest for the Democratic presidential nomination. Robert F. Kennedy appeared in a strong position to be the nominee after winning the California primary in June.

But Kennedy was assassinated at the end of his victory party in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968. Hubert Humphrey, Johnson’s vice president, went on to win the nomination. But in the fall, he lost a close election to the Republican nominee, Richard M. Nixon.

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‘Coup’ and ‘Cover-Up’: How the G.O.P. Is Reacting to the Harris Candidacy

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‘Coup’ and ‘Cover-Up’: How the G.O.P. Is Reacting to the Harris Candidacy

‘Unfit to serve’

‘Best interest’

‘Proof of life’

‘Far Left Democrats’

‘Resign’

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‘Less competent’

‘Coup’

‘Largest political cover-up’

‘25th Amendment’

‘Rigging’

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‘Where is Joe Biden?’

‘Border Czar’

‘Gaslighting and lying to each of us’

‘Wood chipper to democracy’

‘Who is running the show?’

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‘All the best’

While elected Democrats have been quick to rally around Vice President Kamala Harris after President Biden’s announcement that he would leave the 2024 presidential race, a vast majority of prominent Republicans have treated the development with suspicion or scorn.

A New York Times analysis of statements by Republican senators, representatives and governors found that their reactions to Ms. Harris’s presumptive candidacy and Mr. Biden’s withdrawal clustered around several themes, including the opinions that Mr. Biden must resign or that the events of the past few days amounted to election subversion or a bloodless coup. Recent polling suggests nearly 9 in 10 Americans believe Mr. Biden’s decision to step aside was the right one.

Several officials also suggested that Mr. Biden — who had been in Delaware recovering from Covid-19 but returned to the White House on Tuesday — had gone missing. A greater number made statements attacking Ms. Harris’s record, while a small handful posted positive or supportive comments. Emphasis in these quotations was added by The Times to highlight common themes in the statements.

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65 called Mr. Biden’s withdrawal a coup or said it amounted to election interference.

‘This is a coup of a puppet regime.’

‘While President Trump took a bullet for our democracy, the progressive democrats are taking a wood chipper to democracy by shredding the will of 14 million primary voters.’

‘Now the Democrats are rigging their *own* elections.’

These statements have tended to argue that Mr. Biden’s decision to end his candidacy was not his own, was not democratic or both. Many have mocked Democrats for positioning themselves as “defenders of democracy” in contrast to Republicans, following attempts by former President Donald J. Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

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Some of this language began to bubble up among Republicans even before Mr. Biden announced that he would drop out. During the Republican National Convention last week, Chris LaCivita, a top adviser to Mr. Trump’s campaign, described the pressure on Mr. Biden to withdraw as an “attempted coup.”

97 said that Mr. Biden must resign or be ousted, or that he is unfit for office.

‘Today I’m demanding the Biden Harris cabinet invoke the 25th Amendment. If Biden isn’t capable of being a candidate, he’s not capable of being President.’

‘If Joe Biden is unable to serve another term, then he must resign right now. If he’s unfit to campaign, he should not have the nuclear codes — it’s that simple.’

‘If Joe Biden is unfit to run for re-election then he’s unfit to serve the remainder of his term.’

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Statements along these lines have primarily argued that if Mr. Biden is not able to run for a second term, then he is unfit to continue to serve now. Many said should step down from the presidency. Some have gone further, suggesting that the 25th Amendment should be invoked to remove Mr. Biden from office.

76 speculated about a high-level conspiracy in the White House about the condition of Mr. Biden’s health.

‘Kamala Harris was complicit in a massive coverup to hide and deny the fact that Joe Biden was not capable of discharging the duties of the office.’

‘The American people should fire every single politician that has been gaslighting and lying to each of us about Biden’s capability to lead our Nation. Kamala Harris is as culpable as Biden’s senior staff and family in this scheme to subvert democracy.’

‘Democrats have been complicit in the largest political cover-up in history.’

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These comments have, without providing evidence, accused Ms. Harris and other top Democrats of a cover-up to hide the state of Mr. Biden’s physical and mental fitness.

18 asked, ‘Where’s Biden?’ or implied that the president had gone missing.

‘Where is Joe Biden? Who is running the show?

‘Americans are asking: Where is Joe Biden?

‘For the third time today, I’m asking Joe Biden to provide the American people with proof of life.’

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Mr. Biden was self-isolating with Covid-19 at his family’s Delaware beach house when he made the announcement that he would step aside from the 2024 presidential race. These comments drew attention to his lack of recent public appearances, in some cases even calling for a demonstration that Mr. Biden was still alive. Mr. Biden returned to Washington Tuesday afternoon and is set to give a televised address this evening.

143 made other statements, mostly attacking Ms. Harris’s record.

‘ “Border Czar” Harris has NOT done her job to secure the border.’

‘Kamala Harris leads the Far Left Democrats’ pro-crime, anti-victim agenda.’

‘Cackling Kamala is widely considered less competent than dementia-impaired Joe Biden.’

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Dozens of Republican officials made more typically political statements, including criticizing Ms. Harris as a candidate. One common line of attack, positing that Ms. Harris failed as a “border czar,” is misleading. (Some Republican candidates have already begun to run ads like this one, drawing attention to some of the more liberal positions Ms. Harris has taken in the past, particularly during her failed 2020 presidential primary campaign.)

And 9 made positive or supportive comments about Mr. Biden’s decision.

‘Fran and I wish President Biden and the First Lady all the best as he serves out the remainder of his term and in the years ahead.’

‘I understand and respect President Biden’s decision not to seek reelection. While we have political differences, I appreciate his lifelong service to our nation, which he dearly loves.’

‘I respect President Biden’s decision to act in the best interest of the country by stepping aside in the 2024 presidential election.’

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A few Republican officials wrote kindly about their relationships with Mr. Biden or sent him well wishes.

In the table below, see which Republican elected officials made which types of statements, as of Tuesday night.

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