Former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton joined current President Joe Biden for a campaign fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on Thursday night. The event was hosted by late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert, a vocal opponent of Donald Trump, and featured a musical performance by Lizzo. Meanwhile, Trump attended the wake for Officer Jonathan Diller, a member of the New York Police Department (NYPD) who was killed in Queens during a routine traffic stop.

The three Democratic heads of state discussed the threats allegedly posed to democracy and basic freedom by Trump. “We had a period of time where those ideals were not just de-emphasized but violated,” Obama said in reference to the Trump administration. There were also some digs: “three presidents have all come to New York and not one of them is here to appear in court,” joked Colbert.

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Tickets for the event, which served as donations to Biden’s reelection bid, ranged in price from $225 to $500,000. The Biden campaign reported raising a whopping $25 million from the event, which is an incredibly high number for a single-day fundraiser.

The fundraiser was protested by a group of pro-Palestine activists who demonstrated outside the building, chanting things like “end the occupation now!” Biden has been shifting gears on the Israeli war and is actively pursuing ways to drop more aid into war-torn Gaza as his party’s support for Israel rapidly dwindles.

Poll: More Than 50% of Americans No Longer Support Israel’s War in Gaza

This New York fundraising event was a long time in the making, as Valuetainment reported in early February. Obama had advertised it with a Biden campaign donation page, which awarded random donors two seats for the event including a complimentary flight and hotel room. Obama has been helping Biden campaign for months, appearing in ads on YouTube through Democratic commercial agency ActBlue.

While Vice President Kamala Harris has dropped hints that she is ready to replace Biden should the opportunity arise, she has recently been quiet on the topic. Former presidential candidate Nikki Haley had predicted Biden would drop out in March, but former First Lady Michelle Obama, who was the most popular suggestion for a Biden replacement and who allegedly ran polls on donors to gauge support levels, has vehemently denied any intentions to run for office.

On the day of the fundraiser, Donald Trump was also in New York, but for a very different reason. Officer Jonathan Diller was 31 years old and was the father of a 1-year-old child. Trump was said to be “moved by the invitation to join NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller’s family and colleagues as they deal with his senseless and tragic death,” according to a statement from his press secretary Karoline Leavitt.

“In life, some things just capture a moment and this captured a moment,” Trump told The New York Post after the event, which was also attended by New York Mayor Eric Adams. “This particular great officer, top of his class — he captured a moment. The perfect family has been so tragically altered, forever altered.”

“I was telling Stephanie, the wife, who’s incredible, a 1-year-old baby who doesn’t know that his life has been greatly affected by this,” Trump continued on his private plane at MacArthur Airport. “I said something has to come out of it, and the only thing that you could really think that could come out of it is we get stronger and tougher so this doesn’t keep happening.”

Earlier that day, Trump had deplored to people gathered outside the funeral home about how the murder of police officers is “happing all too often” in the United States.

“We have to do a lot of things differently because this is not working,” Trump said. “The only thing we can say is maybe something’s going to be learned … We’ve gotta toughen it up and strengthen it up. Things like this shouldn’t take place and take place so often.”

Shane Devine is a writer covering politics, economics, and culture for Valuetainment. Follow Shane on X (Twitter).

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