Just hours after former Vice President Joe Biden addressed the Poor People’s Campaign presidential forum at Trinity University in Washington, D.C. Monday, it was off to New York City where he hit the campaign fundraising circuit at the multi-million-dollar Upper East Side home of Jim Chanos, the president and founder of Kynikos Associates, a well-known short-selling investment firm.
“Folks, look, if you start off with the notion there’s nothing you can do, well, might you all go home then, man?” he said. “Or let’s start a real, physical revolution if you’re talking about it. Because we have to be able to change what we’re doing within our system,” Biden had just told attendees at the Poor People’s Campaign.
Anti-fracking and climate protesters gathered briefly outside the residence before Biden arrived. According to pool reporters, demonstrators chanted, “ban fracking now” and had signs reading #GreenNewDeal.
Around 180 guests attended the $2,800 per person fundraiser and included businessman Dennis Mehiel; George Tsunis, the founder of Chartwell Hotels; and real estate executive Bruce Mosler.
Other guests seen at the fundraiser were: Former Sen. Al D’Amato, R-N.Y.; Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y.; Former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, who served as a VA undersecretary for health during the Obama administration and as VA secretary for President Trump until 2018; billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis; Robert Wolf, founder of 32 Advisors and a top fundraiser for President Obama’s campaigns; Michael Kempner, CEO of MWWPR and a prominent Democratic fundraiser.
Biden discussed a few of his proposals including one that would mandate all firearm triggers to only function if the owner’s fingerprint DNA is sensed.
“If I get elected president of the United States of America with your help, if that happens, guns, we have the capacity now in a James Bond-style to make sure no one can pull a trigger unless their DNA and fingerprint is on it. We have that capacity to do it now. You know it. But what happens? The gun manufacturers, when two folks started to sell some of those guns to two dealerships, they said we’re going to shut you down. My god, we don’t have to worry about the 2nd Amendment,” Biden said.
“Imagine all the people who would be alive today if the only person who could buy a gun is qualified because of background checks and they’re the only ones that can pull the trigger? So, my point is there are so many things we have the capacity to do,” he added.
Biden also reprised his attacks on Trump in reference to the Charlottesville, Virginia riots that he has made in the past saying President Trump “would go down as an aberration in American history,” but said that “eight years can fundamentally change the nature of who we are as a country. I don’t think that’s hyperbole. I mean that literally.”
He went on to say, “I did not plan on doing this again. And then I watched and I didn’t anticipate that this president would be so, so mean-spirited, divisive and basically a classic, uh … it’s racism when in fact you saw those folks coming out of the fields in Charlottesville with the contorted faces, literally carrying torches coming out of the fields, and chanting the same exact, not like, the same exact anti-Semitic bile carrying Nazi flags that were chanted in the streets of Berlin and Nuremberg and throughout Germany and Europe in the 30s. And confronted by decent people who said, no, we’re not going to give hate any safe haven here.”
Biden accused Trump of making a “moral equivalency between those who were peddling hate and evil, white supremacists, Ku Klux Klan, Nazis, neo-Nazis, and said they were very fine people in both groups.”
President Trump has defended himself in the past against this repeated attack from Biden and others. Trump points to the press conference transcript immediately following the Charlottesville, Virginia riots.
At the press conference, he explained that the two groups on the different sides of the Confederate statue debate were “fine people.” He made it clear, however, he was not referring to the neo-Nazis and white nationalists. Trump noted Thomas Jefferson’s statues around the country at one point during the Trump Tower August 2017 press conference.
“Are we going to take down the statue? Because he was a major slave owner. Now, are we going to take down his statue? So, you know what? It’s fine. You’re changing history. You’re changing culture. And you had people, and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally. But you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists,” he said.
He continued, “And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly. Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people, but you also had troublemakers and you see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets and with the baseball bats. You’ve got — you had a lot of bad — you had a lot of bad people in the other group…”
Back in 1977 Biden supported restoring U.S. citizenship to Confederate leader Jefferson Davis, The Washington Examiner reported.
As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, at the time, he voted unanimously to approved a bill in 1977 that would restore Davis’ citizenship. He also supported a similar measure one year earlier for Confederate leader Robert E. Lee.