US President Joe Biden hosted a record-breaking election fundraiser in New York City, alongside his predecessors Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

US President Joe Biden hosted a record-breaking election fundraiser in New York City, alongside his predecessors Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

His team said the star-studded evening at Radio City Music Hall would raise over $25m (£20m) for the campaign – a record for a single political event.

They are looking to extend a growing cash gap between the president and his Republican challenger Donald Trump.

Polls suggest the race for the White House rests on a knife edge.

Some of those in attendance, such as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, were sure to make those election stakes clear to the raucous crowd of 5,000 Democrats. The New York senator told them they must do whatever they could to ensure that the “dishonest, chaotic, ineffective regime of Donald Trump” did not return.

The late-night comedy host then moderated a conversation between the three presidents.

Mr Biden began with an oft-repeated slogan, saying democracy was at stake in this election. He said Mr Trump had a “perverse view of the world”, noting his opponent’s vocal support of those who participated in the 6 January Capitol Riot and his buoying of authoritarian leaders abroad.

“But I’m really hopeful,” the president added. “If we get by this election, we can set the course for the next four, five, six decades.”

Mr Obama, for his part, touted Biden’s legislative victories. He said the president had done everything from reducing the cost of medicine to creating jobs – particularly for African Americans.

He added that Mr Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, and his supporters seemed “increasingly unconcerned with the essence of America”, which he said was centred on the idea of “bridging our differences and moving forward”.

Mr Clinton, meanwhile, accused Mr Trump of “stealing a few good years” from the back of Mr Obama’s administration and somehow claiming “overnight” successes.

The four men ended their time on stage by putting on aviator sunglasses in an impression of Mr Biden, which earned a standing ovation.

First Lady Jill Biden was due to host a private after-party for 500 guests. The president’s son, Hunter Biden, and his family were to attend.

The tickets were priced between $225 and half-a-million dollars. For $100,000, guests could get a picture with Mr Biden, Mr Obama and Mr Clinton, with star photographer Annie Leibovitz taking the snaps.

While the three presidents were on the same page during their time on stage, the event did not pass without incident.

Protesters who condemn Israel for its invasion of the Gaza Strip gathered outside Radio City Music Hall to call for a ceasefire. Some were able to interrupt the event inside the theatre as well.

Mr Biden quickly took up the issue over the shouts of the protesters and to the applause of the crowd.

“There has to be a two-state solution, a progression,” he said. “But I’m confident that can be done with Israel’s integrity… preserved.”

Facing lagging approval ratings, the 81-year-old has worked to capitalise on momentum following his well-received State of the Union Address earlier this month.

Thursday’s event comes after a Biden campaign blitz in battleground states and could prove pivotal in November’s vote.

There are clear financial results. The Biden campaign recently declared it had $155m cash on hand, which it said was the biggest war chest any Democratic candidate had ever possessed at this point in an election cycle.


Mr Trump and his political action committees reported having $74m.

UPDATE: Protesters interrupted President Joe Biden‘s conversation with his predecessors, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, a signature feature of the blockbuster fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall.

The disruption isn’t all that surprising, given that many of Biden’s events have seen hecklers calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war. This time, according to a pool report, one of the protesters was yelling obscenities about a nuclear war with Russia. Other protesters interrupted over the situation in Gaza.

According to Reuters’ Jeff Mason, when one protester interrupted, Obama snapped back, “You can’t just talk and not listen…That’s what the other side does.”

Stephen Colbert was moderating the conversation.

Toward the end, Colbert, Obama and Clinton donned aviators. Biden said that he was a man who loves two things: Ray Ban sunglasses and ice cream.”

“By the way,” the president said, “Dark Brandon is real.”

PREVIOUSLY: Mindy Kaling, emceeing tonight’s Biden campaign fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall, quipped that she was getting older but compared to the president and his two predecessors, she looks like a “cast member on Euphoria.”

“The reason we are here is to re-elect President Joe Biden,” she said, getting serious, per a pool report.

She did riff on the ticket prices, telling the large crowd that it was nice to be in a room with “so many rich people,” and that they were supporting a president who wants to “raise your taxes.”

First Lady Jill Biden, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer each spoke, and Lizzo performed About Damn Time.

PREVIOUSLY: Joe Biden was joined by his predecessors Barack Obama and Bill Clinton today for a taping of the Smartless podcast, a prelude to a large-scale showbiz filled fundraiser this evening at Radio City Music Hall.

The fundraising event raised more than $25 million, making it the largest haul for a single political event, according to Biden’s re-election campaign. The campaign was quick to compare the money raised to that of Donald Trump, who has lagged his rival in fundraising. The sum is larger than the entire amount that Trump’s campaign raised in February.

The appearance of Biden, Obama and Clinton also was designed as a show of unity to Trump, who has been shunned by high profile traditional Republicans like former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter, Liz Cheney. The only living Republican ex-president, George W. Bush, has not said whether he will endorse Trump, but he did not campaign with the former Celebrity Apprentice host in 2016 or 2020.

Outside of Radio City, though, was a reminder for Biden of the fissures in the party over the Israel-Gaza war, as a large number of demonstrators nearby the venue. The appearance of protesters at any Biden event has become a common scene, with hecklers interrupting his speech in Raleigh earlier this week.

At the event, Stephen Colbert will moderate a discussion with the three presidents. First Lady Jill Biden also will deliver remarks, and there will be performances by Lizzo, Cynthia Erivo, Ben Platt, Queen Latifah and Lea Michelle. Mindy Kaling will emcee.

About 5,000 people are expected at the sold out event, with ticket prices reportedly ranging from $225 per person to $500,000 at the top level, in addition to a heavily promoted online contest to win tickets to attend. The latter includes access to exclusive events and a photo with the three presidents. The campaign said that Annie Leibovitz would be taking photos with some of the attendees.

Donald Trump’s campaign spent much of the day pointing out that he was also in New York, but attending the wake of NYPD officer Jonathan Diller, who was shot and killed during a traffic stop. Fox News gave the campaign an assist with a chyron of Trump’s visit, reading, “Trump attends cop wake, Biden goes to fundraiser.”

Next week, Hillary Clinton and Lin-Manuel Miranda will host a New York fundraiser for Biden’s campaign at a Broadway performance of Suffs: The Musical. Clinton is co-producer of the musical.