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Biden, Trump provide campaign split-screen with dueling NYC events

By AFP - Mar 29,2024 - Last updated at Mar 29,2024

Former US president Donald Trump speaks to the media after attending the wake of slain NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller at the Massapequa Funeral Home on Thursday in Massapequa, New York (AFP photo)

WASHINGTON — Joe Biden and Donald Trump were on the campaign trail in New York on Thursday as the Democratic president prepared to host a star-studded fundraiser and his Republican predecessor and 2024 rival paid tribute to a fallen police officer.

Trump made a short statement after attending the wake of police officer Jonathan Diller, who was shot and killed on Monday during a traffic stop.

“We have to stop it. We have to get back to law and order,” said the 77-year-old billionaire, who refrained from criticizing his 81-year-old rival directly.

Trump’s entourage contrasted his solemn trip with a lavish fundraiser Biden will headline later alongside former Democratic presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, which organisers say has reaped an eye-watering $25 million.

“President Trump will be honouring the legacy of Officer Diller and paying respects to his family, friends, and the NYPD,” said the Republican’s spokesman Steven Cheung.

“Meanwhile, the Three Stooges — Biden, Obama, and Clinton — will be at a glitzy fundraiser in the city with their elitist, out-of-touch celebrity benefactors.”

The White House said Biden had called New York Mayor Eric Adams on Thursday to offer his condolences over Diller’s killing.

The Democrat has not been in contact with the officer’s family but “grieves” with them, his spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said, adding that the president “has stood with law enforcement his entire career and continues to stand with them”.

Jean-Pierre said on Wednesday that Biden was “deeply grateful for the sacrifices police officers make to keep our communities safe”.

 

$100,000 

 

Biden’s fundraiser will feature a debate between the three Democratic leaders, hosted by late-night TV comic Stephen Colbert.

Singers Lizzo and Queen Latifah, among others, will perform at the event, to be held at Radio City Music Hall in midtown Manhattan in front of 5,000 people.

The star-studded fundraiser is the first event of its kind to feature the three Democratic presidents.

According to NBC News, guests can pay $100,000 for a photo with the trio.

“The numbers don’t lie: today’s event is a massive show of force and a true reflection of the momentum to reelect the Biden-Harris ticket,” Jeffrey Katzenberg, the campaign’s chief fundraiser, said in a statement, referring to Vice President Kamala Harris.

He contends that Biden will raise more money in one evening than Trump did in the entire month of February.

Biden has better-stocked campaign coffers than his Republican opponent, who is using some of the funds raised from his supporters for legal expenses in the multiple lawsuits he is facing.

Trump’s trial for allegedly covering up 2016 hush money payments to a porn star when he was running for his first term in office begins in New York on April 15.

He devotes much of his campaign rhetoric to attacking illegal immigration and criticising his Democratic rival for being lax on policing.

But the Republican, who faces 88 felony counts for a wide variety of alleged criminality, is also a harsh critic of law enforcement, regularly accusing the FBI of pursuing a politically motivated “witch hunt” against him.

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