President Biden, first lady continue fundraising blitz in LA | Inquirer

President Biden, first lady continue fundraising blitz in LA today

'This weekend, California welcomes President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden,' says Filipino American elected official Melissa Ramoso.
/ 02:42 PM December 09, 2023

LOS ANGELES – President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden continue their fundraising blitz in the Los Angeles area today that kicked off on Dec. 8 with a star-studded event in Holmby Hills.

The event was attended by the first lady, filmmaker Steven Spielberg, director Rob Reiner, television producer Shonda Rhimes, Gov. Gavin Newsom, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank).

Pelosi reportedly co-hosted the event along with former LA mayoral candidate and billionaire Rick Caruso. Singer Lenny Kravitz performed after Biden’s speech.

According to entertainment industry news website Deadline, tickets ranged from $1,000 to $500,000. Those who contributed $25,000 or more had access to a photo line.

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Biden greeted by elected officials

President Joe Biden arrives at Santa Monica Airport in Santa Monica, Calif., Friday, Dec. 8, 2023. Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., third from left, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom, left, and Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, right, look on. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Biden arrived at Santa Monica Airport in Santa Monica on Friday, Dec. 8. He was welcomed by elected officials in California, including Congressman Ted Lieu (D-Calif), California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass.

Support from the Filipino American community

Los Angeles is home to the largest community of Filipino Americans in the nation. More than 500,000 Fil-Ams live in the LA area.


“This weekend, California welcomes President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden,” said Fil-Am community leader Melissa Ramoso, former senior field representative for Congressman Ted Lieu.

Ramoso, council member and former Mayor of Artesia, said it’s “imperative” to support Biden and his administration.

“The future of our democracy is at stake and we cannot go back to a dictatorial style and undemocratic leadership,” said Ramoso, who currently serves as district director for California Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi.


“I am hopeful for their return to the White House. I am also confident that integrity, decorum and honor will continue with a Biden-Harris presidency.”

A former national co-chair for Filipino Americans for Biden-Harris, Ramoso said she will continue in 2024 to be a staunch advocate for President Biden who “represents all of America and most especially our fellow kababayans.”

Ramoso recently attended a belated celebration of Filipino American History Month at the White House, joining several Fil-Am community leaders and Hollywood celebrities in marking the occasion.

In a letter read at the event, Biden said Filipinos and Filipino Americans “embody the best of our country – putting service over self, remaining committed to their opportunities, and bolstering the bonds that unite us as Americans.”

‘Free Gaza’ protesters

As Biden arrived in LA, he was also greeted by “Free Gaza” protesters estimated at 1,000-strong outside a star-studded fundraiser in Holmby Hills, where Biden spoke for more than 10 minutes.

The protesters had gathered Friday afternoon to condemn U.S. funding of Israeli military strikes in Gaza with one holding a sign, “No votes for mass murderer.”

“At one point an unlawful assembly and dispersal order was issued due to the protesters’ actions including throwing objects at officers and passing vehicles,” Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore said in a statement.

“The crowd slowly dispersed and no arrests were made, no use of force, and no officers were injured.”

Protesters tagged several Westwood businesses, Fox11 reported.

Someone spray-painted “Free Gaza” on the wall of an apartment building on Wilshire Boulevard across from Sinai Temple, the Daily News reported. Some of the building’s residents inside threw objects at the crowd, according to the Daily News.

During his speech, Biden focused on the threat he believes former President Donald Trump poses to democracy.

“Literally, I believe, the future of American democracy is at stake,” Biden said at the home of former U.S. ambassador to Spain James Costos and designer Michael Smith.

“The greatest threat Trump poses is to our democracy, because if we lose that, we lose everything. We will be one of those generations that can say, `We saved democracy.”’

Polls have shown Trump holds an overwhelming lead in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. Other polls have shown he has slight lead over Biden in the general election race.

Biden also discussed his administration’s economic successes and the confirmation of more than 160 federal judges.

Republicans condemn Biden’s fundraising swing

“Today, Biden will listen to the concerns of Hollywood elitists instead of ordinary Californians suffering a violent crime epidemic, increased cost of living and Gavin Newsom’s record $68 billion deficit,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Ben Petersen said in a statement.

“No wonder Biden is dragging down Democrats in competitive House races.”

California Republican Party Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson saidin a statement Biden’s approval level in California is at “record lows.”

“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,” Patterson said.

“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.”

Biden arrived at Los Angeles International Airport from Las Vegas at around 5 p.m. Friday after making a speech about how his “Investing in America Agenda” is advancing his vision for world-class infrastructure across the nation.

He walked off Air Force One quickly and entered a military helicopter for a flight to Santa Monica, where he then entered a motorcade to attend the fundraiser.

Support for women’s health

First lady Jill Biden arrived in the area first, landing early Friday afternoon at Hollywood Burbank Airport.

She traveled directly to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to tour research laboratories as part of the White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research. She toured the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center and Smidt Heart Institute, according to the White House.

“Research on women’s health has been underfunded for decades and many conditions that mostly and only affect women or affect women differently have received limited attention like those debilitating migraines and undiagnosed heart attacks,” Biden told a crowd of about 300 people following her tour.

She added that because of those funding gaps, “we understand far too little about these conditions and how to help the millions of women who struggle with them. And these gaps are even greater for communities that historically have been excluded from research, including women of color and women with disabilities.”

The White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research is aimed at “galvanizing the federal government and the private and philanthropic sectors to spur innovation, unleash transformative investment to close research gaps, and improve women’s health,” according to the White House.

The president is set to depart Los Angeles early Sunday afternoon, bound for Washington, D.C. (with CNS report)

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TAGS: fundraising, Los Angeles, President Biden
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