NEW YORK – U.S. first lady Jill Biden on Monday embarked on a fundraising tour to build up President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign coffers, telling a well-heeled Manhattan crowd of nearly 50 people that her husband “knows how to get things done.”
The event was hosted at the Upper East Side home of Barry Ginsburg and his wife Merle, whose wealth comes from real estate and other ventures.
Jill Biden is set to be a key messenger for her husband on the campaign trail, including at important stops to raise hundreds of millions from the wealthy in the coming months for what may be the priciest U.S. election in history.
The first lady said that the president, who had a root canal procedure on Monday, asked his supporters to be “optimistic” when she visited him before embarking on the fundraising campaign.
“Tell them to be optimistic, because I am, so let’s finish the job,” she said, relaying the president’s message at the event attended by Reuters.
She is scheduled for two fundraising events in San Francisco on Tuesday and another for donors in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
President Biden raised more than $1 billion in 2020 and faces questions from donors about whether the 80-year-old should pass the torch to younger leadership.
“We are grateful for your support, but we need to keep this momentum going,” Jill Biden said while recounting the administration’s effort in creating 13 million jobs, boosting bipartisan cooperation and closing a debt ceiling agreement before a default.
The campaign, which officially launched on April 25, plans to ramp up fundraising events. President Biden is expected to hold his own events with large donors in California and Illinois, starting next week.
Advisers believe a strong cash haul will set Biden, who is almost certain to get the Democratic nomination, apart from a Republican Party that is picking its candidate from a large field that includes front-runner Donald Trump, the former president defeated by Biden in 2020.
Biden aides are keeping a close eye on June 30, when quarterly fundraising books close. Campaigns will announce these fundraising tallies in mid-July, and the figure will be a sign of how well Biden’s money-raising efforts are going.
So far, his campaign has only held a handful of events, largely for donors and volunteers. Two fundraising events Biden held last month in New York raised more than $3 million, according to a person familiar with those totals.—Reporting by Nupur Anand in New York and Trevor Hunnicutt in Washington; Editing by Jamie Freed