Joe Biden, At Broadway Fundraising Concert, Addresses Concerns About His Age, Slams Donald Trump As Out To “Destroy American Democracy”

Major stage and musical performers showed for Joe Biden’s reelection campaign Monday, with a Broadway for Biden fundraiser in which the president quipped about his age but also put the campaign in stark terms.

“I’m running because democracy is at stake, because [in] 2024 democracy is on the ballot once again,” Biden said at the event at New York’s Lunt-Fontanne Theater, per a pool report. “And let there be no question: Donald Trump and his MAGA Republicans are determined to destroy American democracy. And I will always defend, protect and fight for our democracy.”

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Biden also chided Trump for his refusal to criticize Vladimir Putin. “I will not side with dictators like Putin,” Biden said.

The event was announced last month, with appearances by Josh Groban, Ben Platt, Sara Bareilles, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Cynthia Erivo, Leslie Odom Jr and Laura Benanti. Tickets were priced from $250 for rear mezzanine seats to $7,500 for orchestra center front. 

Broadway for Biden was hosted by Broadway producers and supporters Jeffrey Seller, Thomas Kail, Luz and Luis Miranda, Bruce Cohen and Gabe Catone, Tom Healy and Fred P. Hochberg, Barbara Marcin and Orin Kramer, Stacey and Eric Mindich, Karen & Gary Rose, Janet and Marvin Rosen, Alexandra and Eric Schoenberg, Ted Snowdon and Duffy Violante, Henry Tisch and Sean Walsh.

Biden also got in a quip about his age, the focus of endless attention as polls show overwhelming numbers of voters are concerned that, at 80, he’s too old to be seeking another term.

“A lot of people seem focused on my age,” Biden said. “I get it. Believe me, I know it more than anyone.” But he said that he “knew what to do” with the ongoing Covid pandemic, the war in Ukraine and with threats to democracy. “That’s why I’m running,” he said.

He said that if he is reelected, “We will have saved American democracy,” Biden said. “I am more optimistic about the future of this country than in the 800 years I have served.” That got big laughs.

Biden has avoided trekking to Los Angeles to raise campaign cash as the writers and actors strikes drag on. Instead, he has turned to Broadway for the type of large-scale event that have been typical in past cycles. A Broadway for Biden concert was staged in October 2020, just weeks before the election that year.

Taking the stage to the orchestra playing “All That Jazz,” per the pool report, Biden recalled once taking his sons Beau and Hunter to a Bette Midler Broadway show when they were young. Midler saw them in the audience and then said, who would take kids to that kind of a show.

But his remarks, which ran about 12 minutes, underscored the extent to which he sees the campaign as an crisis moment for the country, just as he did in 2020. He again recounted how the Charlottesville riots and violence in 2017 convinced him to run. “I want the entire nation to join me in sending the strongest, clearest, most powerful message possible that political violence in America is never, never, never acceptable,” he said.

Biden is in New York this week for the United Nations General Assembly, and is interspersing official events with fundraisers as his campaign eyes the next end-of-the-quarter deadline September 30.

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