Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is on a fundraising swing through the Southland as a new poll showed he’s falling far behind Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, in California, plans to spend another day in the Los Angeles region Thursday and attend a luncheon fundraiser at the home of a business executive in San Marino.
Biden began his fundraising activities with an early afternoon appearance in Manhattan Beach Wednesday. He later taped an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” in Hollywood, then spoke at another fundraiser in Bel Air.
The Manhattan Beach event was held at the home of surgeon Dr. Sanjay Khurana and his wife, software engineer Mona Khurana. It was attended by about 150 people.
The evening event in Bel Air at the home of Sean Burton, head of the investment firm Cityview and a member of the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners, drew 130 people including actress Alyssa Milano, actor Zach Braff and Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, who was labor secretary in Barack Obama’s administration.
In his approximately 25-minute speech, Biden again stressed there is no proof to President Donald Trump’s allegations that he and his son Hunter Biden had conflicts of interest while he served as vice president.
Biden then reflected on the family’s decision-making process before he announced his candidacy and how it was his grandchildren who gave the final blessing for him to run. Biden said that his five grandchildren asked for a family meeting when “they were worried” that he wasn’t going to run.
According to Variety, Biden will attend a luncheon fundraiser at the San Marino home of Amy and Jules Buenabenta Thursday. Jules Buenabenta has been the Chief Executive Officer and President of Jules and Associates, Inc. since 1989, and has been the manager and majority owner of Vendor Direct Solutions, LLC since 2006. Jules and Associates is an equipment financing company. Vendor Direct Solutions is an information management adviser.
Biden’s visit began one day after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, announced an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. The announcement came amid growing furor over a telephone call between Trump and the president of Ukraine in which Trump brought up Biden — prompting allegations he may have pressured Ukraine’s leader to investigate actions by then-Vice President Biden and his son in 2014-16, and that Trump may have threatened to withhold financial aid unless such an investigation was conducted.
Trump has vehemently denied any wrongdoing in the call.
Biden has also denied any wrongdoing relating to his discussions with Ukraine officials while his son was serving on the board of a private Ukraine gas company.
The Trump phone call also generated a whistleblower complaint, and congressional Democrats have been pushing to have the Trump Administration turn over a copy of that complaint.
Biden did not address the issue during his appearance at the Manhattan Beach fundraiser, sticking instead to his traditional campaign talking points, saying again, “I believe four more years of Donald Trump will change the very nature of who we are as a nation, the very nature of (who) we are and we can’t let that happen.”
Biden issued a statement earlier Wednesday in response to White House’s release of a summary of the call with Ukraine’s president, saying it makes clear that Trump first withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid to Ukraine and then “implored” the Ukrainian president to investigate a political opponent.
“It is a tragedy for this country that our president put personal politics above his sacred oath,” Biden said. “He has put his own political interests over our national security interest, which is bolstering Ukraine against Russian pressure. It is an affront to every single American and the founding values of our country.”
When he appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” Biden said the president had engaged in “a blatant abuse of power” but that “I can’t let this distract me” because “we have to restore the soul of this country” and he wants to make the United States “the envy of the world again.”
The Trump Victory campaign issued a statement Wednesday responding to Biden’s Southland fundraisers, saying he can “fundraise like it’s business as usual, but Americans demand explanations for the corruption surrounding Biden, his son Hunter, and their dealings with Ukraine.”
“Biden must answer as to why, as vice president, he pressured Ukraine to fire a prosecutor general who was investigating the company paying Hunter Biden $50,000 per month — and why he lied about it just this year,” according to Trump Victory spokeswoman Samantha Zager. “Americans deserve to see the transcripts of Joe Biden’s calls from his time as vice president.”
Meanwhile, according to the latest UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll, conducted for the Los Angeles Times, Warren has jumped to a significant lead in the Democratic presidential race in California, solidifying her position as a front-runner for the party’s nomination,
The poll released Wednesday showed a clear shift from the last Berkeley IGS poll in June, when there was no clear front-runner. The new poll showed Warren separating herself from the rest of the field and becoming the top choice of 29% of likely Democratic primary voters.
Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, showed little movement in the poll. The poll found the two essentially tied for second, with Biden at 20% and Sanders at 19%, followed by California Sen. Kamala Harris at 8%.
The poll surveyed 4,527 registered voters statewide, including 2,272 deemed likely to cast ballots in the Democratic primary. It was administered online in English and Spanish from Sept. 13 to 18. The results for the full Democratic sample have an estimated sampling error of roughly 3 percentage points in either direction.
Biden is scheduled to travel to Nevada on Friday.