May 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden boots reporters from Wall Street donor call

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden's 2020 campaign kicked reporters off the question-and-answer portion a Thursday evening fundraising call after five minutes of opening remarks.

Why it matters: It's an unusual move for Biden's campaign, which has typically been transparent and allowed reporters to cover its fundraising events in their entirety. The campaign indicated that press restrictions would be implemented looking ahead.

What they're saying: NBC's Marianna Sotomayor wrote in a dispatch that she was ejected "when Biden said he was ready to take questions from any of the 25 donors present," per pool reports.

  • Sotomayor added: "...reporters heard Biden over the phone, not through Zoom as has been common practice in the virtual campaign era."
  • Rufus Gifford, Biden's deputy campaign manager, wrote in a statement: "Tonight's event was a new format as we enter a new phase of the general election campaign."

Of note: Trump typically does not permit press to participate in his fundraising events.

The state of play: Biden's call with Wall Street donors began by focusing on Trump's coronavirus preparedness and response.

  • "You know when Trump ran in 2016, he promised to stand up for the ‘forgotten man.’ As soon as he got elected he sure as hell forgot them quick enough," Biden said.
  • "Now we’re seeing the telltale signs of Trump-o-nomics in a way that he’s implemented this stimulus. No strings, no oversight, no [inspector general], no accountability and is setting up what I would call a corrupt recovery."

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