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19 June 2024

Biden brands Trump ‘convicted felon’ at Democratic fundraiser

19 June 2024

US President Joe Biden has again taunted Donald Trump as a “convicted felon” during a fundraiser, saying his likely opponent in November’s election is waging an “all-out assault” on the American legal system.

Tuesday’s event with former president Bill Clinton raised eight million dollars (£6.2 million) for Mr Biden’s re-election campaign.

That is part of a roughly 40 million dollar (£31.4 million) sum raised by Mr Biden and his top surrogates over the last five days, according to the campaign.

The vast majority came from Saturday’s glitzy fundraiser with movie stars and former president Barack Obama in Los Angeles that raised more than 30 million dollars (£23.6 million). First lady Jill Biden has also been on her own personal fundraising effort that has brought in 1.5 million dollars (£1.1 million).

Mr Biden and Mr Clinton, who appeared together with Mr Obama at a March fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall in New York, headlined Tuesday night’s event, held at the home of former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, a long-time Clinton adviser.

Author John Grisham, Jill Biden and former first lady Hillary Clinton also attended the event in McLean, Virginia.

Mr Biden told a crowd of about 450 that Mr Trump was desperate, and “the threat Trump poses in a second term will be greater than his first”, while referencing the former president’s 34 felony convictions in a New York hush money case.

“For the first time in American history, a former president is a convicted felon,” Mr Biden said, adding: “But, as disturbing as that is, more damning is the all-out assault Trump is making on our system of justice.”

Mr Biden has for weeks personally decried the former president for claiming that the case against him was politically motivated, saying “it’s reckless, it’s dangerous, it’s irresponsible for anyone to say this was rigged just because they don’t like the verdict”.

But Mr Biden’s campaign has launched a 50 million dollar (£39.3 million) ad purchase through to the end of June that includes its first television ad highlighting Mr Trump’s conviction, signalling they see the case as an issue of political strength heading into Election Day.

Before Mr Biden took to the stage, Mr McAuliffe joked that the gathering he helped organise competed with the Hollywood big bucks.

“We don’t need all those movie stars and jugglers and singers and farm animals, whatever they got,” Mr McAuliffe said of the Los Angeles event.

He also laughed when declaring to Mr Biden: “When you win again, I am offering myself right now. I will mow the lawn at the White House.”

Hillary Clinton compared herself in 2016 to Cassandra in Greek mythology, who could see the future but was not believed, saying: “That’s how I felt in 2016, when I was raising the alarm about Donald Trump.”

Now, though, she said: “We can all understand how dangerous it would be ever to entrust him and his allies and his enablers to lead our country. He did such tremendous damage.”

Mrs Clinton said it was hard to understand why people who lived through the Covid-19 pandemic and Mr Trump’s presidency could still support the Republican, but “sadly, there are many of our fellow Americans who seem willing to take that risk”.

She also called Mr Trump a “clear and present danger”.

Bill Clinton thanked donors for their money and said of the Biden campaign: “They will do a good job spending it.”

He added of Mr Biden: “I’ve watched him do this job with standards and values and with great impact.”

Last weekend’s Los Angeles event – which also featured actors George Clooney and Julia Roberts in addition to Mr Biden and Mr Obama – was the largest single fundraiser in Democratic Party history.

Mr Biden has ramped up his fundraising as Mr Trump shows signs that he is gaining ground in the money game. For instance, Mr Trump raised 50.5 million dollars (£39.7 million) at an April gathering of major donors at the Florida home of billionaire investor John Paulson.

The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee say they have raised 141 million dollars (£111 million) in May, padded by tens of millions of dollars in contributions that flowed in after Mr Trump’s guilty verdict in his criminal hush money trial.

The Biden campaign has yet to release its May fundraising figures.

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