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3 presidents, celebrity performances and protester interruptions at Biden’s $25M fundraiser

President Joe Biden was joined Thursday by two of his Democratic predecessors for a star-studded fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall that his campaign said brought in more than $26 million.

Former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton participated in the event in New York with more than 5,000 supporters in attendance — including several protesters who interrupted the program when the three presidents were speaking.

Actor and comedian Mindy Kaling hosted the program, which ended at around 10 p.m., and late night host Stephen Colbert moderated a conversation with Biden, Clinton and Obama. Special guests include celebrities like Queen Latifah, Lizzo, Ben Platt, Cynthia Erivo and Lea Michele.

During the nearly hourlong moderated conversation, Colbert joked that the moment was historic because “three presidents have come to New York, and not one of them to appear in court,” taking a jab at former President Donald Trump’s criminal indictments and civil trials.

Clinton also took a swipe at the presumptive GOP nominee, arguing that “Trump had a good couple of years because he stole them from Barack Obama.”

But the discussion was interrupted at least five times by protesters. Colbert acknowledged one protester and asked Biden about the U.S. role in ensuring a peaceful and prosperous future for both Israelis and Palestinians.

Biden said that more needed to be done to get relief into Gaza, but added that Israel’s very existence was at stake.

“There has to be a train for a two-state solution,” Biden said. “It doesn’t have to carry today. There has to be a progression. And I think we can do that.”

His response was met with a standing ovation and chants of “four more years.”

Obama sternly addressed a protester when he was interrupted, saying, “You can’t just talk and not listen.”

“That’s part of democracy,” Obama added. “Part of democracy is not just talking. It’s listening. That’s what the other side does, and it is important for us to understand that it is possible to have moral clarity and have deeply held beliefs, but still recognize that the world is complicated and it is hard to solve these problems.”

The crowd erupted in applause.

Biden’s team has taken steps to minimize disruptions, including making events smaller and withholding exact locations longer than usual, after a January speech where he was interrupted about a dozen times by pro-Palestinian protesters.

Outside the New York venue on Thursday, more than 100 pro-Palestinian protesters chanted slogans like “Biden, Biden, you’re a liar,” and waved Palestinian flags and signs with anti-war messages.

The group Abandon Biden encouraged people to protest the president during his visit over the White House’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war.

“We cannot idly sit by as our president aides and abets genocide in Gaza,” the group’s New York co-chair Mosaab Sadia said in a statement. “The movement to Abandon Biden is only just beginning.”

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