Former Vice President Joe Biden returned to the Southland Thursday to raise money for his Democratic presidential bid, while making stops at a Crenshaw-district soul food restaurant to meet with residents and religious leaders and two fundraisers at private residences.
Biden strapped on an apron and helped served food to patrons at Dulan’s on Crenshaw, then took a microphone and addressed the group, stressing that he is running for president “to restore the soul of this country.”
He quickly targeted President Donald Trump and his recent comments about four Democratic congresswomen, whom the president said on Twitter should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came.” That sentiment was echoed at Trump’s Wednesday night rally in North Carolina, where the crowd broke into a chant of “send her back,” aimed at one of the congresswomen, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minnesota.
“Did you see or hear Trump’s rally last night?” Biden asked the crowd at Dulan’s. “It was despicable. To stand and attack those four women in the way he did, talking about them going back home. The racist, basic taunts. “And then when the crowd started yelling, `Send them back, send them back, send them back,’ when has that ever happened other than the last time you remember the name George Wallace,” Biden said, referencing the segregationist candidate of the 1960s. “No, I’m serious. When has anything like that happened — the president of the United States saying or doing something like that?”
Trump on Thursday tried to distance himself from the North Carolina chants, telling reporters, “I was not happy with it. I disagree with it. But again, I didn’t say that. They did. But I disagree with it.”
“It was quite a chant, and I felt a little bit badly about it,” Trump said.
Biden also attended a fundraiser Thursday afternoon at the Brentwood home of developer Thomas Safran, with tickets ranging from $200 to $2,800. He reiterated his comments from earlier in the day and accused Trump of working to divide the country.
“There’s always in every society an underbelly that has racist and xenophobic tendencies, thank God it’s a minority,” Biden said. “From the day Trump ran he’s been trying to appeal to that underbelly. Because like most charlatans in the 19th and 20th centuries, the way you bring down a system is you divide it and make sure you divide it first. That’s what this has been all about.”
Biden then attended a Thursday night fundraiser at a Bel Air home owned by Sony Motion Picture Group Chairman Tom Rothman and his wife, Jessica Harper. There were about 75 attendees there, including fundraiser co-hosts and media moguls Peter Chernin and Amy Pascal, talent agent Bryan Lourd and Warner Bros. Chairman Toby Emmerich. Actor Richard Schiff from “The West Wing” also was in the crowd.
Rothman introduced the candidate and said, “When people, often to enhance their own position, attack aspects of the vice president’s 40-year record, I keep thinking the same thing — yeah, that’s right, he actually has a record, and a record equals experience and, before the world turned upside down, experience was an important job qualification.”
Biden’s 30-minute speech was filled with barbs at Trump.
“Four years of Donald Trump — God willing — will go down as an aberration in American history,” he said. ”Eight years of this guy, I believe in my heart, will fundamentally alter the character of the nation we are.”
The candidate also talked about his desire to restore the middle class in America.
Republican National Committee representatives took aim at Biden’s appeal to the middle class while the man gathered with Hollywood executives.
“Working Americans can see right past Joe Biden’s ‘Middle Class Joe’ act as he mingles with coastal elites and multi-millionaires,” RNC spokeswoman Samantha Zager said. “Meanwhile, President Trump has championed the middle class with historic tax cuts, higher wages and deregulation.”
Biden was expected to remain in the Los Angeles area overnight and attend two more fundraisers in the area Friday.
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