Biden raises millions on West Coast as he says his campaign is underestimated

President Biden raised millions of dollars for his reelection bid in Silicon Valley on Friday as he poked at former President Trump and argued that his campaign was being underestimated.

“The press doesn’t want to write about it, but the momentum is clearly in our favor, with polls moving toward us and away from Trump,” he said, noting that 1.6 million people have donated to the campaign, nearly all less than $200 each. He said his campaign has opened 150 offices in battleground states “and Trump has opened zero offices. And it’s not just because he’s on trial.”

California donors bankroll presidential campaigns on both sides of the aisle, and Biden and Trump have both raised more in the state for their reelection bids than anywhere else, according to the Federal Election Commission. The president is expected to return to Southern California for a fundraiser in June.

Biden’s Friday trip to California was his first since a February fundraiser at the Beverly Park estate of media mogul Haim Saban. The Israeli American billionaire prompted scrutiny this week because of an email he sent to senior Biden aides criticizing the administration’s decision to put a shipment of weapons to Israel on hold because they could be used in an offensive against a densely populated city in southern Gaza.

Biden encountered protesters on both sides of the issue in the Bay Area, as well as in Seattle, where he flew after the California visit. As the president’s motorcade drove to a Palo Alto fundraiser hosted by Marissa Mayer, the former chief executive of Yahoo, it encountered people holding Palestinian flags and signs that said “Defund Israel” as well as another group waving Israeli flags.

On Saturday, Biden addressed the conflict.

“There would be a cease-fire tomorrow if … Hamas released the hostages — women, the elderly and the wounded,” Biden said. “Israel said it’s up to Hamas if they wanted to do it, we could end it tomorrow. And the cease-fire would begin tomorrow.”

Biden made the comments at a fundraiser at the Medina, Wash., home of Jon Shirley, a former president and CEO of Microsoft, and his wife, Kim.

At Friday’s event hosted by Mayer, tickets cost up to $50,000, according to the news website Puck. An earlier fundraiser Biden headlined at the Portola Valley home of Vinod Khosla, a co-founder of Sun Microsystems, cost up to $100,000. The two events were expected to raise $4 million.

California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom attended the Mayer event. Biden called the two women a source of inspiration and noted his efforts to create a diverse administration.

“These two ladies here in my view — and I mean this sincerely — are emblematic of how America is changing,” the president said. “They’re incredibly competent and they’re incredibly capable and they’re changing the whole emotion of what constitutes success and what can be done.”

Silicon Valley has grown into a fundraising juggernaut for political candidates and overwhelmingly favors Democrats.

In the 2024 presidential election, Biden and associated groups backing his campaign have raised $17.1 million from the communications and electronics industry, which includes tech companies, according to an analysis of FEC data released April 22 by the nonpartisan nonprofit Open Secrets, which tracks electoral finances. Trump has raised $1.7 million.

Trump did receive the backing of some notable tech leaders in his successful 2016 campaign, such as billionaire Peter Thiel, the PayPal co-founder who made history that year who said from the podium of the Republican National Convention that he is gay before Trump was nominated as the GOP candidate.

Thiel and some other tech leaders backed away from Trump after the tumult of his presidency and in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol that attempted to halt the certification of the 2020 election results.

In the 2024 Republican primary, some backed other GOP candidates but have reportedly returned to the fold since Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee.

“President Trump is building a historic and unified political movement to make America great again, receiving more than 90% approval from Republican voters, winning Independents by double digits, and picking up historic gains with longtime Democrat constituencies,” campaign spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt said in a statement.

“Anyone who believes in securing the border, rebuilding the economy, restoring American energy dominance, and ending the wars Joe Biden has created around the world is welcome to join President Trump’s movement to make America great again,” Leavitt said.

National GOP leaders predicted Biden would lose in November dispute his fundraising prowess.

“Everyone is worse off under Joe Biden, but instead of correcting his failed Bidenomics agenda or securing the border, Biden is rubbing elbows with donors to save his flailing campaign,” Michael Whatley, chairman of the Republican National Committee, said in a statement. “It won’t work — voters know that Biden is wrong on the issues, and they’ll vote President Trump back in to the White House on November 5.”

First Lady Jill Biden was also in California raising money for her husband’s reelection campaign — in Marin County on Thursday and in Beverly Hills on Friday at the home of John Emerson, the U.S. ambassador to Germany under President Obama, and Kimberly Marteau Emerson, the spokesperson for the U.S. Information Agency under President Clinton.

The event raised more than $450,000, John Emerson told attendees, who included media mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, a co-chair of Biden’s reelection campaign.

After recounting how Biden proposed marriage five times, Jill Biden laced into Trump.

“Donald Trump is dangerous to our families and to our country,” she said. “We are the first generation in half a century to give our daughters a country with fewer rights than we had. We simply cannot let him win.”

The president, speaking in Portola Valley, repeated jokes he has previously made about the former president.

“Not everyone is feeling the enthusiasm these days. The other day this guy walked up, said, ‘I’m in real trouble, short on cash, I don’t know what to do.’ I said, ‘Donald, I can’t help you,’” Biden said.

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