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

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.


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.


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.

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. 

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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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