Former President Barack Obama joined his former vice president Joe Biden in a virtual fundraiser Tuesday evening, promising that “help is on the way” and urging supporters not to be “complacent or smug” declaring that “whatever you’ve done so far is not enough.”
“I am here to say the help is on the way if we do the work because there’s nobody I trust more to be able to heal this country and get it back on track than my dear friend Joe Biden,” Obama said during the 90-minute video conference. “I appreciate you all being on this call but man, this is serious business. Whatever you’ve done so far is not enough. And I hold myself and Michelle and my kids to the same standard.”
The joint-fundraiser event, Obama’s first appearance with his former Vice President was billed as a grassroots event. However, the fundraiser was a secretive event, requiring supporters to “chip in any amount” to watch the live-stream, and press access was limited to “pencil only,” with no video stream made available for media access or public viewing.
During the virtual event, Obama warned Democratic voters that they shouldn’t be “complacent or smug” in taking this presidential election for granted just because Biden is currently leading Trump in every major poll.
“We can’t be complacent or smug or sense that somehow it’s so obvious that this president hasn’t done a good job because, look, he won once and it’s not like we didn’t have a good clue as to how he was going to operate the last time,” Obama said, according to a pool report of the remarks.
The former president noted that while he inherited a nation with a crippled economy, he believes the situation Biden will take over from the White House will be far “tougher than the one that greeted him when he came into office.”
“As challenging as those times were and as much of a slog as it was to yank the economy out of the economic crisis that it was in and in some ways things were tougher in terms of the financial system than they are today, but there was still a sense of a shared American idea that we could build on,” Obama said. “And what we have seen over the last couple of years is a White House enabled by Republicans in Congress and a media structure that supports them that has not just differed in terms of policy but has gone at the very foundations of who we are and who we should be.”
“That actively promotes division. And that considers some American in this country more real than others,” Obama continued. “That, we haven’t seen out of the White House in a very long time.”
He expressed optimism that younger voters, would be the “Great Awakening” in pushing for “real change” and reform, but stated that those “passionate about the demonstrations” need to participate in “the political process” for such change to ever occur.
“The good news, what makes me optimistic is, the fact that there is a Great Awakening going on around the country, particularly among younger people who are saying not only are they fed up with the shambolic disorganized mean spirited approach to governance that we’ve seen over the last couple of years, but more than that, are eager to take on some of the core challenges that have been facing this country for centuries,” he said. “There’s a backlash, that is fierce, against change. Ultimately in a democracy, those decisions are made at a government level. There’s no contradiction between being involved in a social movement and participating in the political process. The political process is always going to be slower. It’s always going to be less satisfying. But ultimately, it’s necessary to make real change.”
Biden announced at the start of the joint fundraiser that it raised $7.6 million and drew 175,000 individual donors, the campaign’s highest-grossing event of the 2020 cycle.
The Trump campaign seized on Biden looking to Obama for help to raise money and how they blocked media from using video and audio feeds to report on the fundraising event. According to the Trump campaign, the team along with Republican National Committee (RNC) raised more than $10 million over the weekend of the President’s rally in Tulsa.
“There is no enthusiasm for Joe Biden. Even his guest of honor, Barack Obama, urged him not to run to avoid embarrassing himself,” Trump 2020 communications director Tim Murtaugh said in a statement. “The fact that he touted this fundraising event so grandly, and then hid it from view, is just more proof that Joe Biden can’t withstand the scrutiny of the American people as he runs for president.”
Trump also addressed the fundraiser event, pointing out the former president’s campaigning efforts for Hillary Clinton in 2016 did not result in a win for the Democratic ticket.
“Don’t forget I am only here because of him and Biden,” Trump told reporters before heading to Arizona Tuesday morning. “I’m only here because of them, because if they did a good job we wouldn’t have been here, there would have been no reason.”‘
The joint fundraiser is the latest in a series of virtual events with big-name Democrats that Biden has been holding from the confinements of his home. Recently, Biden held a virtual event headlined by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) who raised $6 million in an evening by major contributors, despite refusing to hold high-dollar fundraisers during her own primary campaign. A week before Warren event, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) organized an event that pulled in $3.5 million and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) helped host another event and raised more than $1 million.
The series of weekly handful virtual fundraiser event from Biden helped him out-raised President Trump by $6 million for the first time in May. Biden’s campaign announced last week that the campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) brought in $80.8 million for the month of May, while the Trump’s campaign and the RNC pulled in $74 million.
However, the Trump campaign and the RNC sits on a massive $265 million cash on hand war chest at the beginning of June, while Biden and the DNC have roughly $130 million on hand, according to the most recent figures released on April 30.