Former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg both lined their campaign coffers in the Los Angeles area Thursday as they continued campaigning for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
Buttigieg joined Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at a late-morning rally with various union leaders in support of a parcel tax on the June 4 ballot to increasing funding for the Los Angeles Unified School District.
“I’m really inspired by what I saw today,” Buttigieg told reporters after the rally. “I’ll be watching this closely and (am) excited to do anything else I can to lend my voice to this effort.”
According to Variety, Buttigieg had four fundraisers planned in the Los Angeles area on Thursday, including one at the home of actress Gwyneth Paltrow and a more low-cost — $25 per person — event at the Abbey in West Hollywood.
Variety also reported that Buttigieg is already planning to return to Los Angeles June 19 for four more fundraisers, including one hosted by TV producer Ryan Murphy.
During his appearance with Garcetti, Buttigieg also responded to criticism leveled at him Wednesday night by President Donald Trump, who mocked the Democrat and questioned his ability to conduct critical negotiations with a country like China.
“He’ll be great, representing us against President Xi of China — that’ll be great,” Trump said sarcastically. “I want to be in that room. I want to watch that one.”
Buttigieg responded Thursday, “You can’t get too worried about the name-calling and the games he plays. I was thinking of the Chinese proverb that goes, `When the wind changes, some people build walls, and some people build windmills.’ You’ve got to recognize that we need something completely different.”
Biden, who appeared at a pair of Southland fundraisers Wednesday and also met with Garcetti, continued his campaign financing effort Thursday morning at an appearance before about 70 people at the Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles. The event was hosted by attorney Tom Girardi and his wife, “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” personality Erika Jayne.
Biden joked with the crowd about the large number of Democratic presidential hopefuls, saying, “I think it’s one heck of a field, although I never anticipated there’d be 300 people running.”
But he echoed comments he made Wednesday, saying he will never “speak ill of another Democratic candidate.”
On Wednesday, Biden began his first visit to the Los Angeles area since declaring his candidacy on April 25 by speaking at a midday fundraising event at the Hancock Park home of UCLA School of Medicine faculty member Dr. Cynthia Telles and her husband, media executive Joe Waz.
Biden then greeted residents and sat down for tacos in the Pico-Union area with Garcetti and spoke at an evening fundraiser at the Brentwood home of James Costos, the U.S. ambassador to Spain during President Barack Obama’s administration, and his husband, designer Michael Smith.
Film mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg was among the co-hosts of the evening event, along with producer/businessman Peter Chernin and director Rob Reiner. Katzenberg also hosted an October fundraiser in Beverly Hills on behalf of Biden’s political action committee, American Possibilities. Biden spoke at that event.
Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt was also among the co-hosts, as were Chris Silbermann, the head of the ICM Partners talent agency, and two other Obama administration ambassadors — former ambassador to Belgium Denise Bauer, and former ambassador to UNESCO Crystal Nix-Hines.
Tickets were $2,800, the maximum individual contribution to a presidential primary campaign, which included a photo reception with Biden. Co-hosts were committed to selling $10,000 worth of tickets.
Biden spoke to the crowd of more than 300 for about 20 minutes, joking that half a dozen of them had called him over the previous two years and said, “You don’t have a choice — run. This is not about you.”
“I said: `Thank you very much,”’ drawing laughs.
Between his fundraising events, Biden got together with Garcetti in the Pico-Union district to meet with residents, and the pair stopped at a King Taco eatery, where they ordered tacos and drinks and sat with diners.
Biden did not directly answer a question of whether he would consider Garcetti as a possible running mate, but heaped praise on the mayor, who had pondered a 2020 presidential run before announcing earlier this year he would not be pursuing such a bid.
“I just want to tell you, when he decided not to run I called him and I said I really have mixed emotions about this,” Biden said. “The reason is, number one, I think he’s one of the most qualified people in this country, one of the best mayors in this country.
“He’s done incredibly innovative things. And I said, `But I’m also glad you’re not running because I plan on running.’ And I’m serious, I wouldn’t want to run against you. But look, he is qualified to be mayor, to be president, to be senator — to do anything he decides to do. He’s totally qualified.”