Biden slams Trump, hints at Inslee recruitment at Seattle fundraiser


President Joe Biden swung through Seattle to raise money for his reelection campaign Friday, boasting at a downtown reception about his administration’s record on jobs and climate, and slamming Donald Trump as a threat to democracy.

Biden, who touched down at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport shortly before 5 p.m., spoke to a crowd of a few hundred donors, warning of the consequences if Trump wins this fall.

“What’s at risk in 2024 are our freedoms and our very democracy,” Biden said, citing the refusal by Trump and some of his top allies, including his potential vice presidential picks, to commit to accepting the results of the election.

Biden was introduced by Gov. Jay Inslee, who praised the president’s record on fighting climate change, predicting that “when they look back on his presidency 100 years from now, his work on climate will be his finest hour.”

Biden, in turn, complimented Inslee’s leadership and twice hinted he might recruit him for a second-term administration.

“When we win, he ain’t staying in Washington state,” Biden said at the start of his speech. Later, he said he’s relied on Inslee’s advice and said: “I’m not joking. Jay, there’s no place to hide.”

During the roughly 18-minute, mostly low-key talk in a domed reception hall at Lotte Hotel Seattle, formerly First United Methodist Church of Seattle, Biden pointed again and again to Trump’s recent interview with Time magazine about his plans for a second term — including using the National Guard to sweep up and deport millions of undocumented immigrants, who Trump has said are “poisoning the blood” of America.

“That’s not who we are,” Biden said.

Citing the toll of gun violence in the U.S., Biden vowed to again pursue a renewed federal ban on “assault weapons.”

“The idea of children going to school learning how to duck and cover is sick. It’s sick!” he said.

2024 WA Election | Local Politics

The president has scheduled no public events for his visit, which has snarled rush-hour traffic with his motorcade and delayed flights.

The crowd of donors rose repeatedly for enthusiastic standing ovations as he asked for their support in the coming election.

Outside, demonstrators banged on drums and yelled slogans criticizing the president for his support of Israel’s war against Hamas.

“Biden, Biden, you can’t hide! We charge you with genocide,” they chanted.

About 75 protesters clustered behind barricades blocking off streets outside the hotel, many wearing kaffiyehs or holding signs in support of a cease-fire. Despite Biden’s decision this week to withhold some weapons from Israel, some said it was too little, too late.

Among those gathered were Seattle residents Kate Rafael and Talia Braester. The protesters, who are both Jewish, wore matching T-shirts that read “not in our name.”

Braester, 18, expressed frustration at Biden’s “disregard for Palestinian life.” She said she used to look forward to casting her first presidential vote for Biden but now feels she “can’t vote for someone who is funding genocide.”

“President Biden is probably the only person on the planet that actually has the power and the ability to stop the genocide that’s happening,” 64-year-old Rafael said.

Biden did not mention the war in his speech.

The Friday reception was to benefit the Biden Victory Fund, with tickets starting at $500 per person. Donors who gave $25,000 were able to get a photo with the president.

With his latest string of fundraisers, Biden and the Democratic Party have worked to maintain their financial advantage over Trump and Republicans.

Last month, Biden’s reelection campaign said it ended the first quarter of the year with more than $192 million in cash on hand. That’s compared with about $93 million in cash on hand for Trump and the Republican National Committee, according to The Associated Press.

On Saturday, Biden is scheduled to speak at a private Eastside fundraiser hosted by tech executives and other major Democratic donors, including Microsoft President Brad Smith, Amazon general counsel David Zapolsky, former Microsoft President Jon Shirley and former Costco CEO Jim Sinegal.

Biden is expected to depart Seattle on Saturday afternoon.

The visit is part of a West Coast fundraising swing for Biden as he and Vice President Kamala Harris gear up for their reelection bid against former President Trump. Biden attended two fundraisers Friday in San Francisco.

He last visited Washington on Earth Day in 2022, promoting his administration’s work to preserve forests and lower prescription drug prices.

Seattle Times staff reporter Lauren Girgis contributed to this report.

2024 WA Election | Local Politics

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