The Biden campaign disconnected reporters from a virtual fundraiser with Wall Street donors on Thursday evening, a move that coincided with the former vice president opening himself up to questions from the approximately 25 people at the virtual event.
According to the Associated Press, Rufus Gifford, deputy campaign manager for team Biden, released a statement over an hour after reporters were booted from the call explaining that the decision to limit press access was part of a “new format.”
“Tonight’s event was a new format as we enter a new phase of the general election campaign, but we will continue to ensure press access to our virtual finance events as part of our campaign’s commitment to transparency,” said Gifford, per a copy of the statement posted by CBS reporter Bo Erickson.
According to a pool report of the fundraiser, the Biden campaign kicked out the pool reporter several minutes after the event started, with the reporter noting that the campaign’s move bucked the tradition of “covering these pooled fundraisers in their entirety.”
Before Biden opened up the fundraiser to questions, the presumptive Democratic nominee told the donors he wouldn’t let them “get away” if he wins the election, as they may be capable of helping him change the country into something “better than the one we inherited.”
Biden’s campaign has been quite good about opening fundraisers so the public can get a sense of what he says to wealthy donors
— Matt Viser (@mviser) May 22, 2020
The Associated Press also notes that this fundraiser was unique in that reporters were asked to call-in to the fundraiser instead of participating via video call as usual.
Only several months ago, Biden was making the case for transparency in an attack on former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was receiving heat for his usage of non-disclosure agreements amidst his brief presidential run, according to Fox News.
“Let’s get something straight here. It’s easy. All the mayor has to do is say, ‘You are released from the non-disclosure agreement. Period,” Biden said at the debate, before drilling down the importance of general transparency with other examples. “Whether it’s your health records, whether it’s your taxes, whether you have cases against you, whether or not people have signed non-disclosure agreements.”
Despite struggling to gain momentum in the crowded primary field, Biden has since started to rake in money from those looking to unseat President Donald Trump this November. According to Politico, former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton raised approximately $2 million in a single night for a joint fundraising committee that is supporting Biden’s presidential run.
The Biden campaign has also reportedly started asking several vice presidential candidates to begin the vetting process, including Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Congresswoman Val Demings (D-FL), and Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), among others.
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