Former Vice President Joe Biden seemed to challenge the narrative building among some in his party when he argued on Tuesday that it wasn’t always appropriate to “demonize” rich people.
“I mean, we may not want to demonize anybody who’s made money,” Biden reportedly said during a New York City fundraiser with wealthy donors. According to Bloomberg, Biden seemed to knock Sen. Bernie Sanders’, I-Vt., inclination towards “revolution,” saying that it wasn’t the right way to improve economic well-being.
“When you have income inequality as large as we have in the United States today, it brews and ferments political discord and basic revolution,” he said.
He also pushed back on the view that wealthy people were “the other” in society and told them “I need you very badly.”
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“Remember, I got in trouble with some of the people on my team, on the Democratic side, because I said, you know, what I’ve found is rich people are just as patriotic as poor people,” he also said.
Biden, the clear frontrunner and perceived moderate, is leading Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., in the polls. The latter two were among the most prominent Democrats railing against Wall Street and large corporations while introducing sweeping economic reforms.
The fundraiser came after Biden faced friendly fire from people like Sanders for not moving far enough to the left on issues like federal funding for abortion.
Despite the criticism from them and Trump, Biden has continued to lead the pack of Democrats and raise substantial amounts of money. He reportedly said that his campaign “raised a lot of money” and received contributions from 360,000 people, with an average donation of $55. Do the math, and that works out to $19.8 million.
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This comes two weeks after Biden appeared to reveal for the first time the number of individual donors to his campaign, telling Fox News, “we’ve had over 300,000 individual contributors. Average contribution of these is under $200.”
The Biden campaign didn’t elaborate further on the former vice president’s latest fundraising comments. The campaign announced soon after Biden jumped into the race that they hauled in a record $6.3 million in his first 24 hours as a presidential candidate.
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Warren, who’s criticized Biden in the past for meeting with big donors, zinged him again Monday night on Twitter as she touted her grassroots fundraising.
“I don’t spend time at fancy fundraisers. Instead, I spend my time meeting voters and thanking grassroots donors who chip in what they can. Donate $3 to my campaign, and you might just get a call from me to thank you!” the populist senator from Massachusetts wrote.
Reporter Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.