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Joe Biden Tells Guests At Hollywood Fundraiser, “You’re The Reason That Donald Trump Is A Former President”; Pro-Palestinian Protesters Demonstrate Loudly Outside Event — Update

UPDATED, with complete remarks: President Joe Biden told the crowd at a fundraiser this evening, “You’re the reason that Donald Trump is a former president, or he hates when I say it, a defeated president.”

At the Holmby Hills home of designer Michael Smith and former ambassador James Costos, Biden rallied his donors, many of whom backed him in the last campaign, while turning his focus on his likely 2024 rival. He spent a substantial part of his remarks warning of Trump as a threat to democracy, a contrast that many of the president’s steadfast backers believe will boost support as the 2024 campaign gets in full swing.

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“Literally, I believe, the future of democracy is at stake,” Biden said, according to a pool report. “The greatest threat Trump poses is to our democracy, because if we lost that, we lose everything.” Read his complete remarks at the end of the story.

A large group of pro-Palestinian protesters was outside the security perimeter near a Holmby Hills Park, and videos posted on social media showed demonstrators attempting to surround cars and chanting as police officers escorted attendees into the event. The demonstrators were heard chanting “ceasefire now” and “free Palestine” and accusing the president of supporting genocide. According to the pool report, the sound of sirens and helicopters could be heard as the program went on.

The president talked of Trump’s behavior on January 6, 2021, when the then-president was watching TV coverage of the attack on the Capitol from a West Wing dining room, as a mob searched for his vice president.

“It’s despicable. It’s simply despicable,” Biden said, then saying, a bit facetiously, “My guess is that he won’t show up at my next inauguration.”

Biden also referred to Trump’s comments earlier this week, in which the former president told Sean Hannity that he would not abuse power in a second term except for the first day of his presidency, when he would close the border and expand drilling.

“The other day [Trump] said, ‘He would be a dictator only one day. That God. Only one day,” Biden said sarcastically.

“He embraces political violence instead of rejecting it,” Biden said.

According to reporters at the event, Biden did not address the Israel-Hamas war. He spoke for 11 minutes, according to the pool report.

Earlier at the event, First Lady Jill Biden said that she was “so glad that Joe is our president during these uncertain times,” and she also asked the crowd to recall their feeling after Trump won in 2016, according to Reuters. “We have to begin now,” she said.

Co-hosts of the event included Steven Spielberg, Shonda Rhimes and Rob Reiner, as well as Peter Chernin and Jim Gianopulos. Lenny Kravitz was scheduled to perform.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced Biden, following speakers including First Lady Jill Biden and Costos. Other politicos there included California Governor Gavin Newsom, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass. Bass’s rival in last year’s election, Rick Caruso, was a co-host of the night’s event.

The LAPD and Secret Service had beefed up security in the expectation of protests.

Last month, pro-Palestinian demonstrators protested outside a Los Angeles fundraiser headlined by Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff.

PREVIOUSLY: President Joe Biden arrived at LAX late on Friday afternoon to kickoff a weekend of fundraising, starting with a Hollywood-centric event hosted by designer Michael Smith and James Costos, the former U.S. ambassador to Spain.

Biden and a number of White House staffers then rook Marine One to Santa Monica Airport, and he is motorcading to the event. Among those greeting Biden were California Governor Gavin Newsom, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass.

The Los Angeles Police Department sent out an advisory warning motorists “in the West Los Angeles area, including Century City, Pico-Robertson, and Beverly Hills adjacent, can expect intermittent street closures today. Please plan for traffic delays and avoid the area if possible.”

According to videos posted on social media, dozens of pro-Palestinian demonstrators, chanting “ceasefire now,” lined up near a Holmby Hills park, where Los Angeles police officers and the Secret Service had set up a security fence perimeter near the home where the event will take place.

The LAPD had earlier warned of protest activity expected throughout the weekend.

“The Department will continue to work with any protest organizers to facilitate lawful demonstrations while protecting the safety of all involved including surrounding communities.  Violence of any kind will not be tolerated,” the LAPD said.

First Lady Jill Biden arrived earlier in Los Angeles, and toured the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center and Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars Sinai.

The California Republican Party, meanwhile, has weighed in with a blast at the presidential visit.

Party chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson said in a statement, “If President Biden is expecting a warm welcome from the Golden State today, he hasn’t been paying attention to local polls that show his approval at record lows among Californians. It seems even deep-blue California can’t get behind his disastrous agenda of high inflation, open borders, weak foreign policy, failing schools, and rampant crime. No amount of time spent rubbing elbows with Hollywood elites while bragging about the imaginary merits of ‘Bidenomics’ will change the fact that Joe Biden’s presidency is an abject failure.”

REMARKS: Here is President Joe Biden’s complete speech from his Friday evening fundraiser:

Folks, I don’t know who the hell they’re talking about.  (Laughter and applause.)  I’m Jill Biden’s husband.  (Laughter.)

And thank you, Jilly.  Jill is my partner, my political advisor, my confidant.  And you’re doing a fantastic job as First Lady.  You really are.  (Applause.)

And I work for Nancy Pelosi.  (Laughter.)  Thank you, Nancy.  I’ve said this for a long time when I was a senator, and I say it as vice president and as president: Nancy, historically, is the finest Speaker of the House we’ve ever had.  (Applause.)

That’s a fact.  And the country owes you, Nancy.  (Applause.)

And while she’s back in Washington, thank you for another great Californian, who I couldn’t do this job without, Kamala Harris.  (Applause.)

My good friend Karen Bass — thank you, Karen.  (Applause.)  Karen act- — I told Karen the worst sentence in the English language is, “I’m at the airport.”  (Laughter.)  She was there today.  Thank you, Karen.

And Gavin Newsom also is a hell of a fighter and a great friend.  (Applause.)  Where’s Gavin?  He’s somewhere around here somewhere.  There you are, Gav.  Thank you, buddy.  You’re always there.

And our hosts, James and Michael — thank you for welcoming us to your home and for your friendship.  (Applause.)  And also, to tonight’s chairs and co-hosts, to all of you, thank you all for your support.  This is an incredibly successful night.

I’m not going to talk long for a couple of reasons: One, I know that I’m the only thing standing between you and Lenny Kravitz.  (Laughter.)  That’s number one.

Let me begin by thanking all of you.

In 2020, the reason we got 81 million votes — more votes than any presidential candidate has ever gotten — is because of all of you.  You’re the reason why Donald Trump is a former president.  (Applause.)  Or as he hates to hear me say, a defeated president.  (Laughter and applause.)

Look, we — you know, he — anyhow, I shouldn’t get into that.  (Laughter.)

You’re the reason why we’re going to win, God willing, in 2024.

Because you — because of you, we’ve gotten a lot done.  And wh- — from where we started, from the pandemic raging and the economy reeling, look at where we are today.

The pandemic is behind us, thank God.  Record job creation, record economic growth, the lowest inflation rate of any major economy on Earth.  And we’ve rebuilt our alliances around the world, which were in more — tougher shape than I thought they were until I became president. 

Because of the great help of Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Chairman of Judiciary Committee, we’ve confirmed federal judges at a historic pace: 160 federal judges.  (Applause.)  The first Black woman on the Supreme Court and more Black women appointed to the fir- — to the Federal Circuit Courts than every other president combined.  (Applause.)  That’s Dick Durbin.

And on our watch, we made the Affordable Care Act stronger.  We made the biggest investment in history in the — to combat climate.  And so many of you have been major, major, major players in helping me in the climate crisis. 

Signed the first new gun safety law in 30 years, but we have a hell of a lot more to do on guns.  (Applause.)

We’re making a historic commitment to build America with American products and American labor.  And today, because of Nancy’s leadership, I’ve announced a historic step forward in high-speed rail in the Central Valley, where you go 220 miles an hour.  (Applause.)

Oh, I’m not joking.  I’ve been pushing this for over 40 years.  Finally, finally, finally.

I was in Las Vegas earlier today to announce the rail project that will get you to Los Angeles — to Vegas in two hours, instead of a seven-hour car drive.  (Applause.)

Look, we’ve all done — what you’ve all done — the real –the real story here is there’s an awful lot of American people that just stood up and took a chance.

In thousands of towns all across America, we see thousands of stories of revival and renewal, hope and optimism and pride — pride in your work, in your family, in your town; pride in this nation.

My dad used to have an expression.  He’d say, “You know, Joey, a job is a lot more than a paycheck.”  Seriously, this is what he would say.  “A lot more than a paycheck.  It’s about your dignity.  It’s about pride.  It’s about being able to look your kid in the eye and say, ‘Honey, it’s going to be okay.’”

We know there’s a hell of a lot more to do from child care, to elder care, to making sure the — that corporations finally start paying their fair share.  And we know all this progress is at stake in the next election.

But tonight, I want to talk very briefly what most this at — what’s most at stake in this election, in my view.  Literally, I believe, the future of American democracy is at stake.  Literally, it all is at stake.

Let me be clear.  Donald Trump poses many threats to the country, from the right to choose to civil rights to voting rights to America’s standing in the world.  But the greatest threat Trump poses is to our democracy, because if we lose that, we lose everything.

When I first ran for president, some of you may remember, I said that democracy was at stake in America.  I think a lot of people thought I was exaggerating, but I don’t think they think that anymore. 

You remember January 6th, Trump sitting in the private dining room down from the Oval Office, just one hallway do- — small hallway down, watching it all unfold on TV, as the mob attacked the Capitol, Capitol Police; desecrated the Capitol.

The mob threatened the life of his own — that threatened the life of his own vice president because the Vice President refused to violate his constitutional oath.  The same mob looking for Nancy that inspired the same assailant to attack Paul months later.

It’s despicable.  Simply despicable.

Trump became the first losing presidential candidate in history who refused to accept the will of the people.  He didn’t even show up at my inauguration.  I can’t say I was disappointed.  (Laughter.)

And my guess is he won’t show up at the next inauguration.  (Laughter and applause.)

But, listen — but on a very serious note, listen to the words he’s saying.  He says he’s running for president, not to serve the American people, but, quote, to get “revenge” and “retribution.”  A president of the United States of America, they’re words coming out of his mouth.

The other day he said that he’d be a dictator only on the first day.  Thank God, only one day.  (Laughter.)

He called those who oppose him “vermin,” language that echoes the hatred of Germany in the ‘30s.  He’s threatened to use American military on the streets of America, with the ali- — with the Sedition Act, to go after political opponents.  He embraces political violence instead of rejecting it.  We can’t let this happen.  We literally can’t let this happen. 

All of you here understand what freedom means.  It’s about truth.  It’s about courage.  It’s about holding a mirror up to ourselves and asking ourselves, “Is this who we are?  Who are we, and can we get better?”

Unlike Trump, we don’t believe America is a dark and negative nation, driven by, as he says, anger, fear, and revenge.  When Trump at his inauguration spoke of American carnage, I spoke at our inauguration about American possibilities. 

I believe we have a hopeful, optimistic nation — (applause) — I really do — driven by a simple proposition that everybody deserves a shot.  We’re the only nation in the world not built on race, ethnicity, religion, or geography.  We’re the only country in the world built on an idea — literally, an idea — that all people are created equal. 

We never fully lived up to it, but we’ve never walked away from it before — never walked away from it before.  We’ve never — as I said, we’re not going to walk away from it now.

Folks, let me close with this.  You know, in this greatest city of the greatest storytellers in the world, we mourn the losses — and you mentioned Norman Lear.

You know, his cast of characters painted a — a fuller picture of America, of our hopes and our hardships, our fears, our resilience, and changed the way we look at ourselves.

In explaining his approach to getting the laugh — to get us to laugh and think, Norman Lear said, and I quote, “You stand a better chance if you can get them caring first” — “if you can get them caring first.”

Folks, at our best, we’re a nation that cares.  We care about each other; we care about the nation.  And in — and in three years, we’re going to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  Three years.

Norman brought an original — bought an original copy of that.  And he shared it with schools and museums so people could feel the patriocy that comes from being moved by its words.

The 250th anniversary will be a moment not only about our past and celebrating all we’ve done but also about the future and all we can be.

I don’t believe and I will not believe that after this nation, all it’s been through — from independence to the Civil War to the World Wars; being blessed with leaders like Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, King; after having stood as a beacon of freedom and equality for the world more than — for more than two centuries — and, by the way, Madeleine Albright was right.  We are the essential nation. 

I know every major world leader.  I’ve known most of them for the last 20 years.  They look to us.  They look to us, the United States.  And I don’t believe, in our 250th year, this nation is going to turn to Donald Trump.

Folks, imagine that moment and ask, “What do we want to be?”  If we do our job in 2024, we show how much we care, how we’ve done something for generations — and generations have not — unable to say up to now, that we will have been one of those generations that say we have saved democracy. 

I know we can do this.  And I know people think I’m — I’m too optimistic.  But I’ve never been more optimistic about our country’s future than I am today.  We just have to remember who the hell we are. 

We’re the United States of America.  There is nothing beyond our capacity, nothing when we act together — literally nothing.  (Applause.) 

We’re the only nation in the world that’s come out of every crisis stronger than we went in.  And that’s my intention, to make sure we do it again.

God bless you all.  And thanks for the help.

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