Blackstone Group Inc. Executive Vice Chairman Tony James hosted a small, high-dollar fundraiser for Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Wednesday.
James and his wife Amabel led the virtual event with Biden, who’s been appearing nearly daily at fundraisers ahead of the end of the quarter next week. Biden has been seeking to balance his efforts to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for his campaign from wealthy donors with the policy concerns of progressives who hope to see him enact tough rules on Wall Street if elected.
“I know you’re not here to hear from me, but I do want to say I believe that Donald Trump is destroying the fabric of America. And I think we cannot allow him to have a second term,” James said in his introduction of Biden.
James is considered by other Wall Street donors as a potential candidate for top job in a Biden administration, and hosting a fundraising event is a way to help strengthen the ties between the candidate and the donor. James was considered for top posts in the Obama administration and reportedly turned down an offer to serve as commerce secretary as he held out for a more influential job.
Jonathan Gray, James’s successor as president of Blackstone, was a co-host of a Biden fundraiser in New York in mid-February, one of the darkest times for Biden’s campaign. James also raised money for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and hosted a fundraiser last year for one of Biden’s opponents in the 2020 Democratic primary, Pete Buttigieg.
Biden struggled to raise money during much of the Democratic primary season but has begun attracting small and large donors since becoming the party’s nominee. He has raised money not just for his campaign operation but for the Democratic National Committee and state parties.
Fundraising surged in May, when Biden’s campaign, the Democratic National Committee and allied fundraising vehicles took in $80.8 million, a record for Biden’s campaign, which beat the $74 million that Trump and the Republican National Committee raised last month.
“It’s not about how bad Trump is, it’s really about how good Joe Biden would be,” James said at the fundraiser. Biden, he said, “is the one leader in America who can pull the nation together and start to heal us” and someone “who’s shown he gets things done in Washington” and can find “the middle ground.”
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