President Joe Biden will head to Los Angeles next week for a big-dollar event that will be his first since strikes by writers and actors effectively ground his fundraising to a halt in the heart of the entertainment industry, which has long served as the ATM for the Democratic Party.
The event next Friday at the home of Michael Smith, a celebrity interior designer, and his partner James Costos, a former HBO executive who was President Barack Obama’s ambassador to Spain, is expected to raise millions and draw a star-studded crowd. Rocker Lenny Kravitz is slated to perform.
Director Steven Spielberg and his wife, Kate Capshaw, who starred in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” are among the hosts of the event, as are recording industry mogul David Geffen, “Scandal” showrunner Shonda Rhimes and “This is Spinal Tap” director Rob Reiner, according to an invitation obtained by The Associated Press.
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is also a co-host. Barbra Streisand is set to attend.
“We are overwhelmed by the enthusiasm. We don’t do many events, but when we do, we do it out of a great passion,” Smith said.
The event is part of a broader fundraising swing by Biden and comes as the Democratic president tries to stockpile cash for what will likely be a grueling rematch against Republican Donald Trump.
Biden is also planning fundraisers in Boston, which will include a concert by James Taylor, Washington and Maryland, where he will appear with Gov. Wes Moore, according to two people familiar with the schedule who insisted on anonymity to discuss internal planning details. He will also appear in Philadelphia alongside Gov. Josh Shapiro.
With a cash haul from elite party donors expected to reach into the millions, the Los Angeles event could help ease concerns among Democrats about Biden’s reelection chances. He already has drawn one primary rival, Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips, whose candidacy is a symbolic challenge to national Democrats trying to project the idea that there is no reason to doubt Biden’s electability, even as many Americans question whether the 81-year-old Biden should serve another term.