Updated Mar 29, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Biden's fundraiser with Obama and Clinton highlights Trump's cash crunch

 Former President Obama (L) and former President Clinton (R) cheer President Biden during a campaign fundraising event at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on March 28, 2024.

Former President Obama, President Biden and former President Clinton during a 2024 campaign fundraising event in New York City on Thursday evening. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden and former Presidents Obama and Clinton combined their gravitas to woo donors and energize the Democratic campaign with a star-studded fundraiser on Thursday in New York City.

The big picture: Per a pool report, the Biden campaign confirmed it raised more than $25 million in one night — which they said made it the "most successful political fundraiser in American history."

  • More than a third of the amount raised came from grassroots donors — under $200 and/or via online, people familiar with the matter said.
  • Biden's campaign said over 5,000 people paid $225 to $500,000 for tickets to the sold-out event at Radio City Music Hall, per the Washington Post.
  • Campaign co-chair Jeffrey Katzenberg said in a media statement that the success was "a show of strong enthusiasm" for Biden, adding: "Unlike our opponent, every dollar we're raising is going to reach the voters who will decide this election — communicating the president's historic record, his vision for the future and laying plain the stakes of this election."

Between the lines: Biden's campaign and the DNC ended last month with more than twice as much cash on hand ($97.5 million) as former President Trump's campaign and the RNC ($44.8 million), Axios' Zachary Basu and Erin Doherty report.

  • Trump raised less in the entire month of February (around $20 million).
  • The Democrats' fundraiser will only add to the growing cash disparity between the two parties' presumptive nominees.

Zoom in: Attendees included the biggest names in Democratic politics and the ones most likely to draw in donors for Biden and his hot-ticket campaign event, along with some star power.

  • First lady Jill Biden kicked off the program, emceed by actor-comedian Mindy Kaling, with musical guests Queen Latifah, Lizzo, Ben Platt, Cynthia Erivo and Lea Michele, according to a White House pool report.
  • Late-night host Stephen Colbert capped off the evening by facilitating a discussion among the three presidents — who wore dark aviator glasses, in a nod to Biden's "Dark Brandon" alter-ego meme.
  • "By the way, Dark Brandon is real," Biden said, per a pool report.

Zoom out: Pro-Palestinian protesters disrupted the presidents' conversation before being escorted from the room.

  • A group of demonstrators outside the event shouted their outrage at Biden's handling of the war in Gaza and some scuffled with police, videos from the scene show.

The other side: Trump was also in New York Thursday, attending the wake of a slain NYPD officer.

  • His campaign sent out an email, using Biden's $25 million bump to call for donations of his own.
  • "After tonight, they'll think they totally obliterated our MAGA movement," the campaign states. "But there's one thing Clinton, Obama, & Crooked Joe aren't counting on: YOU AND THE MILLIONS OF PATRIOTS WHO WILL STEP UP NOW & MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"
  • The money raised by Trump's political operation flows both toward his campaign and his growing legal expenses.

Yes, but: Trump is still holding strong in polls, closing in on Biden's lead among young voters and maintaining advantages on the economy and immigration.

Go deeper: Dems fear Trump win more than Republicans fear Biden: Poll

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout. Axios' Erin Doherty contributed.

Go deeper