WASHINGTON — Donors to President Joe Biden feel uneasy — Worried about his re-election chances, upset that he has little access, if Some are trying to get away from him. 2024.
"Personally, I see a lot of donors being very nervous," said a veteran party fundraiser. “There will be a lot of pressure after the midterms [for Biden to step down].”
A clear majority of Democrats will replace someone else in the next two years. presidential nomination, there are signs of unease even among major donors and longtime Biden supporters.
For now, Biden benefits from the specter of former President Donald Trump.
Interviews with more than a dozen Democratic insiders paint a picture of the donor class facing challenges with Biden. Some feel they are not getting the attention they deserve, as evidenced by a hastily scheduled virtual meeting between the president and key fundraiser Wednesday night. Many contributors and millionaires will pick a different candidate in 2024, but the main reason they're sticking with Biden is because they believe he's the party's strongest candidate for Trump. Body.
But there are concerns that if Trump does not run, Biden will have a hard time beating young Republican candidates like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Like the Veteran Party fundraiser, these sources, on condition of anonymity, gave a candid assessment of the atmosphere.
Importantly, influential fundraisers see the White House as indifferent, so if Biden looks vulnerable after the midterm elections, there will be less reason to support him. Whether he failed to arrange a tour of the White House, a smirking photo with the president, or an invitation to his event outside of Washington, Democratic insiders said the Biden team's involvement with donors was in existence. Either they don't, or they say it's terribly ineffective. This has sparked deep resentment among many who helped Biden win the presidency in 2020, and their rabid support is essential if he is to keep it going.
But White House and Democratic National Committee officials say Biden's interest is right where it should be.
“President Biden is focused on delivering results for working families and building an economy from the bottom up and middle out. ," said White House spokesman Chris Marger. “Republicans in the MAGA Congress are pushing extreme agendas: putting Social Security and Medicare on the cutting board, proposing a national abortion ban, and opposing common-sense proposals to raise the age at which to purchase assault weapons.
Yet one party fundraiser is baffled by the White House's handling of the most seemingly simple political task. A group of supporters did not receive an invitation to Biden's Fourth of July gala on the South Lawn. So the fundraiser asked if someone (somebody) in the White House could at least make a phone call to say thank you and say thank you. The White House aide has declined, the person said. "I'm kidding you f---?" said the man. ``Soon you will ask me to give them another check. Sometimes making speeches and arranging quick meetings with Biden supporters face-to-face on the airport tarmac makes it impossible to make donors feel worthwhile.
Even loyal loyalists see trouble ahead if Biden's team doesn't do a better job of wooing his own friends.
"He needs to fire someone," said Biden supporter Dick Harputrian, a South Carolina senator and former chairman of the state party. .
"I don't know who's calling — Chief of Staff, Jen O'Malley Dillon, Anita Dunn — but the job isn't done," he added. In turn, to Biden's chief of staff, Deputy Chief of Staff Ron Klein, a senior adviser who has rotated between the White House and the private sector.
At a virtual meeting Biden hosted with top supporters of his 2020 campaign on Wednesday — a rare occurrence, according to donors who spoke to NBC News — the president said they were loyal to him. Yes, and explained the reason for raising funds.
He referred to the killing of al-Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri last weekend. Citing the victory of abortion rights advocates in Kansas on Tuesday, he suggested the issue would help his party in the midterms, with most Americans agreeing with Trump's "MAGA" agenda. said no.
Biden's remarks implied, according to some participants, that donors need not worry.
Biden's advisers said the president's message was simply about rousing donors to the midterm elections.
"This week's call was not an admission that someone was upset," the adviser said. “As part of our regular engagement, it was a perfect opportunity to lead into a big week as he continues to assert his electoral choice. …was a preview of his message for the fall. 42} But Democrats were worried, and Biden didn't answer questions.
"Some donors say Biden is the only front-runner for Trump." said a longtime Democratic donor.
Biden's advisers declined to say whether or how Trump's decision would influence the president's thoughts about seeking re-election, arguing that Biden may be seeking a rematch. He pointed to a past interview that suggested he was looking forward to
Biden told Israeli news outlet last month that he "doesn't predict it, but it won't disappoint." He has consistently said he intends to seek his second term, often justifying it by pointing out that there are forces beyond his control.
Complaints from donors large and small are evergreen in presidential politics. Candidates who are eager to win elections give fundraisers enough time and attention when funds are needed. But once established in the White House, presidents are often too busy to get involved. Other presidents have deployed credible political hands to look out for their own political interests.
Where Biden is different, some fundraisers warn, the White House operation ignores the donor network vital to his electoral viability. Alienated donors arecircling in case Biden's campaign jet doesn't take offto feed potential Democratic candidates more food, according to another Democratic fundraiser. just give. Meanwhile, a growing number of Democrats are refusing to endorse their own president's re-election.
"People are pissed enough that they want it to happen," he said of how lawmakers challenged him to endorse Biden forcefully in 2024. said the person. But there is "
For example, Governor Gavin Newsom of California and J. B. Pritzker of Illinois have made strides across the country on issues such as gun control and abortion that Biden has let donors and activists down. Newsom ran ads against the Republican governors of Florida and Texas, two states seeking delegates to the Democratic presidential convention.
White House officials have long cited Covid protocols as a reason to limit access to Biden, who has tested positive twice in recent weeks.
But some longtime allies say he was never interested in serving the needs of his supporters, and moreover, Biden's political advisers say Biden They say they don't think they need big donors because they raised so much money from small donors in 2020.
To, why do you have such a headache?" "It didn't matter who ran, so they have a rude awakening to see Donald Trump lose." , people would have given anything, and if they didn't have Donald Trump as a foil, I believe they wouldn't be raising money like they were fighting Trump." 67}
Party officials point to Wednesday's session with donors and last year's White House holiday party as examples of how Biden looks out for his allies.
"Over the past 19 months, President Biden has hosted numerous in-person and virtual events, and more than ever he has helped raise funds for the DNC," he said, DNC finance chairman. Chris Korge said in a statement. “I know he really enjoys meeting and spending time with our supporters, many of whom are his longtime friends. Our donors understand that he has a very important job as President of the United States.”
Biden has yet to formally announce his candidacy for re-election. , did not start the election campaign. Party officials say they have raised a record amount of money this midterm election cycle.
However, the fundraising effort was at times challenging.
Alan Kessler, a longtime Democratic fundraiser in the Philadelphia area, said he was asked last month to arrange fundraising events for Biden and the Democratic National Committee. With only two weeks' notice, he was skeptical that he would be able to pull it off in the middle of summer, when many credible Democratic donors were vacationing on the Jersey Shore.
"When I got the call, I said, 'Are you kidding,'" he recalls. "It took him less than two weeks to do this.do i really want to get into this?
To make matters worse, Biden was unable to attend because she tested positive for Covid.
Despite the difficulties, Kessler said the event was a success.
"The response has been very impressive," he said. "It may be something people complain about, but at the end of the day, they were supporting the president."
Indeed, criticism of Biden's political involvement is universal. not something
"The moment you become president, the relationship between the donor community and the most powerful person sitting in the White House changes," said the longtime Democratic fundraiser and White House president. said Robert Wolff, an external economic adviser to "Change must happen. The president needs to prioritize his time to make America stronger, economically and on all fronts."
But there are many concerns about Biden.
Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips and Angie Craig have said in recent days that they should not run for office, and two House Speakers, New York Rep. Jerry He Nadler and Carolyn his Maroney are at odds with each other. Democrats voted in a heated primary, refusing to endorse him during the debate this week. Maloney later appeared on television and spoke directly to Biden, reiterating that while promising her support, she did not think he would run.
"Mr. President, I'm sorry," she said. "I want you to run. It happens that you don't run, but when you run, when you run, I'll be there 100 percent."
Joe, the most conservative Democrat in the Senate Senator Manchin (D-W. Va.) repeatedly objected when asked about Biden's second term. he talks about it (The White House itself was unfavorable when Vice President Kamala Harris last year gave an interview to local news in Manchin's home state about the proposed coronavirus stimulus without telling Manchin in advance. (He requested anonymity to speak candidly about his failures.)
It is rare for a president to face such persistent political resistance from within his own party, but he has been a senator for 36 years. Biden missed an opportunity to bond with the next generation of Democratic lawmakers.
Biden flew to San Antonio-based Texas Democratic Party Joaquin Castro's congressional district on his May trip to Uvalde, Texas, the site of a school shooting. I called. Castro was informed that the president was in his district even though he informally advised White House officials and kept in touch with mourning family members before the visit. I was never invited to travel to Uvalde with Biden. Someone familiar with the episode.
One Democratic insider said Mr Biden's political campaign was lackluster, especially on the Capitol, where he could be more dangerous if Democrats lost the November midterm elections. said to be in a position
"I don't know if you have strong good intentions to rely on," said the person. “If the midterm elections are anything like 2010 or 2014,” when the Republicans overwhelm the Democrats, “expect very loud voices for Biden to step down. …Trump wins.”
Some Biden supporters feel that power is too concentrated in his inner circle and that his aides are reluctant to talk to him about the problem. ing.
"There is no one around him who says this is not working," said one source.
Biden still has time to recover — and Wednesday's call with his supporters may have been the beginning. Harputrian, who was on the call, said he was encouraged by what he saw and heard from the president.
"I was refreshed to see him," he said. "Biden was alive and excited."
"There is a disconnect between Joe Biden and his team," Harputrian added. "This is Politics 101. Joe Biden gets it. The people running it don't get it. People need to be touched."