Biden goes straight from G7 to Hollywood fundraiser

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — After flying from southern Italy to Southern California, President Joe Biden is shifting his focus from Russia’s challenge of Western unity to raking in big money for his reelection campaign at a Hollywood fundraiser featuring George Clooney and Julia Roberts.

Biden went straight from the Group of Seven summit of wealthy democracies, where Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine took center stage, to Los Angeles and the glitzy gathering unfolding Saturday night at the Peacock Theater. The journey was only broken up by a layover to refuel outside Washington.

Former President Barack Obama is joining headliners Clooney and Roberts, and late-night host Jimmy Kimmel will interview all of them onstage.

Liberal luminaries from the entertainment world have increasingly lined up to help Biden’s campaign, hoping to provide a fundraising jolt and to try to energize would-be supporters to turn out ahead of Election Day against Former President Doanld Trump.

But hobnobbing with liberal stars this time means Biden is skipping a summit in Switzerland about ways to end Russia’s war in Ukraine. Vice President Kamala Harris is representing the United States.

A Biden fundraiser in March at Radio City Music Hall in New York featured late-night host Stephen Colbert interviewing the president, Obama and former President Bill Clinton. It raised a then-record $26 million, but the California event will bring in at least $28 million, according to the Biden campaign.

Still, Trump has hauled in even bigger numbers.

He outpaced Biden’s New York event in April, raking in $50.5 million at a gathering of major donors at the Florida home of billionaire investor John Paulson. The former president’s campaign and the Republican National Committee announced they had raised a whopping $141 million in May, padded by tens of millions of dollars in contributions that flowed in after Trump’s guilty verdict in his criminal hush money trial.

That post-conviction bump came after Trump and the Republican Party announced collecting $76 million in April, far exceeding Biden and the Democrats’ $51 million for the month and narrowing a fundraising advantage Biden built earlier in the race.

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