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Biden delivers stark warnings about potential second Trump term at star-studded fundraiser


By Arlette Saenz, CNN

(CNN) — President Joe Biden delivered a series of stark warnings about what a second Donald Trump term could hold during a star-studded Los Angeles fundraiser Saturday evening, framing the 2024 presidential election as an inflection point in American history.

“Institutions matter,” the president said. “What (Trump) did on January 6, and now he’s literally saying if he doesn’t win there’ll be a bloodbath — it’s outrageous. What he’s talking about is outrageous.”

The fundraiser, which featured former President Barack Obama, raised more than $30 million for Biden’s reelection efforts, a campaign official told CNN. The conversation between Biden and Obama was moderated by television host Jimmy Kimmel.

Biden specifically argued on Saturday evening that the next four years could see openings on the Supreme Court, potentially leading to the appointment of more conservative justices if Trump is reelected.

“The idea that if he’s reelected he’s going to appoint two more flying flags upside down,” Biden said in an apparent reference to a flag that once flew outside the home of Justice Samuel Alito. Asked by Kimmel whether he considered this the scariest part of a second Trump term, Biden responded, “It is one of the scariest parts.”

“The Supreme Court has never been as out of kilter as it is today, I mean never,” the president said, discussing the ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade and how Justice Clarence Thomas said other rulings could be reconsidered, including on contraception. Someone in the crowd interjected, “including gay rights,” to which Biden responded, “Not on my watch.”

The Biden campaign has been looking to boost his financial war chest amid signs Trump is narrowing the money gap. Biden has led Trump in fundraising for most of the year, but the former president has seen a significant influx in cash come his way since securing the Republican nomination in March. Trump outraised Biden for the first time in April.

“We don’t have to just vote against something in this election,” Obama said. “We have someone to worry about. And there’s a whole agenda that we should be concerned about. But we can take pride in affirming the extraordinary work that Joe has done.”

First lady Dr. Jill Biden, who also spoke at the event, touched on similar themes, saying that her husband “honors the rule of law instead of trying to bend it to his own will. And rallies the world to fight for democracy and freedom.”

She also made the case for the dangers of a second Trump term, saying, “Trump has told us again and again why he wants the White House. To give himself absolute power. To not be held accountable for his criminal actions. … To destroy the democratic safeguards that stand in his way.”

The first lady suggested that Trump is a bully, saying, “When bullies threaten our loved ones, we don’t just stand by.” She added that those in attendance were showing Trump “exactly how we deal with bullies. … We don’t cower, we don’t turn away. We show up. We speak up.”

Obama appeals to ‘core values’

Obama lamented how some in the country have “normalized behavior that used to be disqualifying,” referencing Trump’s recent conviction in his criminal hush money trial.

“We have the spectacle of the nominee of one of the two major parties sitting in court and being convicted by a jury of his peers on 34 counts,” Obama said to applause. “His foundation is not allowed to operate because it was engaging in monkey business. … You have his organization being prosecuted for not paying taxes,” Obama said.

Biden interjected, “He paid none.”

When Kimmel asked Biden about “Trump amnesia,” Biden said: “All you got to do is remember what it was like” during Trump’s four years, pointing to Trump’s recommendation that people inject bleach to cure Covid-19.

Obama also urged “those who are conservatively predisposed” — who may not agree with Democrats — to consider the “core values” that shaped the country, like “basic honesty.”

Kimmel asked Obama how he felt about Trump saying he’s done more for Black people than any president in history. Obama replied “One thing he did, for example, was make them feel even better about the first Black president.”

Jokes fly at star-studded event

George Clooney and Julia Roberts opened up the night’s program. Barbra Streisand introduced first lady Jill Biden while Jason Bateman, Jack Black, Kathryn Hahn and Sheryl Lee Ralph also entertained the crowd.

As he spoke about a potential second Trump term, Kimmel asked Biden, “What are some things a president can do to, let’s say, a talk show host who has been making fun of him every single night?”

“Ever heard of Delta Force?” Biden joked before striking a more serious tone, “The idea that he’s actually threatened retribution. This is the United States of America. Did you ever think you’d ever, ever, ever hear anything like this? Retribution, that’s what he’s going to do, he’s going to get back at people,” he said.

Kimmel also noted that Biden has said he wanted to restore the soul of the country. “It looks like we might need an exorcism. Is that why you visited the pope?”

“Yeah,” Biden said.

Nikki Carvajal contributed reporting.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - Politics

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