Biden campaign says its raised over $28 million ahead of Hollywood fundraiser featuring Obama, dozens of celebrity supporters

Within 24 hours, President Joe Biden will have gone from the G7 Summit to George Clooney.

Mr. Biden left Italy late Friday night after a meeting with world leaders and arrived in Los Angeles early Saturday morning ahead of a star-studded evening fundraiser with former President Barack Obama, talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, Clooney and actress Julia Roberts.

The Biden-Harris campaign says they’ve already raised $28 million going into Saturday night’s event, a record sum for a single Democratic fundraiser. It also eclipses the $26 million the Biden campaign raised from a March fundraiser in New York City with Biden, Obama and former President Bill Clinton. 

Election 2024 Biden
President Joe Biden waves as he arrives on Air Force One, Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Los Angeles. Biden will attend a campaign event Saturday night.

Alex Brandon / AP

Saturday’s star-studded affair will feature a moderated interview of Biden and Obama by Kimmel that is expected to be focused on health care. Kimmel has been a public advocate of the Affordable Care Act, passed by Obama and Biden, after his newborn son had open-heart surgery in 2017.  

Clooney and Roberts will serve as hosts of Saturday’s event. Appearances from actors Jason Bateman, Jack Black, Kathryn Hahn and Sheryl Lee Ralph are also expected, along with an undisclosed musical guest.  

Other celebrities, such as Keegan-Michael Key, Connie Britton, Misha Collins, Jeri Ryan, Jonathan Del Arco, Mandana Dayani, Blake Cooper Griffin and Adam Met, will be in attendance, according to the Biden campaign. 

Prices for tickets at Saturday’s event ranged from $250 to $500,000, though grassroots donors could chip in $20 to watch the fundraiser virtually. 

Hollywood actors have had a presence on the campaign trail in support of Biden in recent weeks. Robert De Niro took part in a May campaign press conference outside the lower Manhattan courthouse where former President Donald Trump’s “hush money” trial was taking place. Ralph of “Abbott Elementary” campaigned with Vice President Kamala Harris in Pennsylvania, and Jane Fonda appeared at a campaign event in Reno, Nev. with first lady Jill Biden on Friday.

The money comes at a time when the race is tight between Biden and Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. A CBS News poll from June found Mr. Biden up 1 point in the battleground states, a virtual tie. The Biden campaign says money raised Saturday will go to growing their grassroots operation (field offices, staffers) and towards paid media.

“This Saturday we are going to see an unprecedented and record-setting turnout from the media and entertainment world. The enthusiasm and commitment for Biden/Harris couldn’t be stronger. We all understand this is the most important election of our lifetime,” said Biden-Harris campaign co-chair and film producer Jeffrey Katzenberg. 

While Mr. Biden has held a sizeable cash advantage throughout most of the cycle, Mr. Trump has seen his own fundraising grow. His campaign says they raised $52.8 million in the 24 hours after he was convicted on 34 felony counts from his “hush money” trial.

The Trump campaign says they also raised a record-breaking $50.5 million at an April fundraiser in Florida. 

Mr. Clooney’s involvement in the fundraiser brought some intrigue after the Washington Post reported in June that he had called a White House advisor to air grievances with Biden’s criticism of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which Clooney’s wife Amal works on. Biden has criticized the ICC’s application for arrest warrants of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant.

Several days after, the Biden campaign sent out a fundraising text from Clooney. 

“I’m not exaggerating when I say that this election is the fight of our lives,” the text blast from Clooney reads. “It’s a choice between those who want to pull America back to the past, and those who want to move America into the future.” 

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