It was President Biden’s sensational re-election speech that turned into a theater of passionate supporters, where he mocked his former Republican challenger, President Donald Trump.
But you won’t be seeing snippets of it on cable news anytime soon. Biden spoke at a private fundraiser where no cameras were allowed — one of four such events he attended in Manhattan this week.
“Donald Trump and his MAGA Republicans are determined to destroy American democracy,” Biden said at a fundraiser” with approximately 1,500 donors giving between $250 and $7,500 to hear him speak alongside Broadway stars such as Lin-Manuel Miranda and Josh Groban.
“I will always defend, protect and fight for our democracy. That’s why I run. ” Biden said.
While the president’s public speeches focus on selling his administration’s accomplishments, these closed-door donor events are where he solidifies his reelection.
Biden says Trump seems ‘destined to be nominee again’.
In his speech at the fundraiser, Biden made it clear that defending democracy will be a central theme of his re-election campaign, just as it will be in 2020 and the 2022 midterms.
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“I’m running because we’ve made progress, but our democracy is still under threat,” Biden said. “I’m running because our most important freedoms — the right to choose, the right to vote, the right to be who you are, to love who you love — these fundamental rights are under attack. They’re being chopped up.”
“I do not believe that the United States is a dark, negative country – a murderous country driven by anger, fear and revenge,” Biden said. “Donald Trump does this.”.
Days later, Biden conducted a similar interview with Trump at a more intimate event, where about 30 people gathered at Amy Goldman Fowler’s East End residence, major donor to Democratic candidates and committees.
“It looks like he’s destined to be renominated,” Biden said of Trump”.
Later, during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Biden described Trump in a lawyer-filled ballroom at the InterContinental Barclays Hotel.
“I have a dining room outside the Oval Office, a private dining room. This guy sat there on January 6th and watched what happened on TV – watched it and thought nothing of it.“ Biden said before describing a rematch against Trump in 2024.
“It’s probably going to be the same guy, and I think I’m going to beat him again,” Biden said.
Biden hasn’t held many campaign events yet. Those will come later
Biden is likely to reserve his most strident anti-Trump lines for private fundraisers because he hasn’t entered many other campaign events. So far, only three public rallies have been held to announce the endorsement. Like most presidents seeking re-election, Biden is not expected to begin an active campaign until next year.
In the meantime, he’s participating in fundraisers to build a campaign war chest, and he’s focused on the job of being president.
“I think it’s a smart strategy to continue to separate the two,” said Karen Finney, a Democratic strategist who worked on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign”.
Finney said that most Americans do not think much about the 2024 presidential election and would rather hear the president talk about things that affect their daily lives rather than politics.
“What Americans want to see now is that he focuses on running the country,” Finney said. “
He also made a lot of jokes about his age
At fundraisers, Biden typically has less protection than in settings with cameras. His first reaction to the House impeachment inquiry was at a fundraiser in Northern Virginia last week.
He sometimes described people standing in his motorcade route, shaking him off or holding pro-Trump flags. And he often jokes about what is widely considered his greatest weakness among voters: He is 80 years old.
“You may have noticed that a lot of people seem to be focusing on my age,” Biden said with a laugh at a Broadway event this week. “Okay, I get it, trust me. I know better than anyone else”.
He believes his experience makes him uniquely equipped to deal with the COVID crisis and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He then ended his remarks with an idiom about optimism, embedded with another joke.
“In my 800 years of service, I have never been more optimistic about the future of our country,” Biden joked.