Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff arrive to the South Portico for a reception in honor of the 2022 Kennedy Center honorees, Sunday, December 4, 2022, at the White House. ( Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

In anticipation of Kamala Harris’s presence at the LA fundraiser on Monday, approximately two dozen protesters, expressing opposition to the Israel-Hamas conflict, congregated outside. Their chants included “Free Palestine” and “Harris, Harris, you can’t hide, you’re committing genocide.”

Commencing around 4 p.m., the protesters brandished signs and a substantial banner proclaiming “No Pride in Genocide!!!” Disrupting traffic, they vociferated “Shame on you” as attendees trickled into the fundraiser. Demonstrators theatrically threw fake blood in front of the residence, leaving red handprints on the ground. By 4:45 p.m., a contingent of roughly a dozen police officers stationed themselves in front of Leslie and Cliff Gilbert-Lurie’s Los Angeles, California home, the venue for the fundraiser.

Among the participants, name tags identified actor Don Cheadle and Skip Brittenham, a senior partner at the entertainment law firm Ziffren Brittenham LLP.

Inside the house, amid an ambiance of art, attendees imbibed wine and consumed appetizers, including a vegan option featuring crostini with squash and truffle walnut hummus with pomegranates.

Leslie Gilbert-Lurie delivered opening remarks from a podium flanked by two American flags, highlighting the presence of over 140 attendees and the event’s successful fundraising, nearing $500K.

“Harris has always been unrelentingly committed to making the world a better place,” she stated. “She’s a smart, fearless leader and a defender of the underdog.”

Gilbert-Lurie asserted that Harris has engaged with over 100 world leaders, visited 18 countries, condemned hatred during the MAGA administration, and advocated for reproductive rights and enhanced gun safety measures.

She also commended Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, emphasizing his status as the first Jewish spouse of an American president or vice president.

“At this heartbreaking moment when antisemitism is rapidly gaining traction along with Islamophobia, racism, and xenophobia, it is so reassuring to know that the Second Gentleman understands what many of us are experiencing,” she said.

Around 6:50 p.m., Emhoff began speaking and mentioned he had good conversations about antisemitism and hate.

“You saw it outside walking in here today,” he said, referencing the protesters. “This is the times that we’re living in right now.”

He mentioned that they announced the first-ever national strategy to combat antisemitism in May.

Harris on the Current State of the Nation

The Vice President then approached the podium but was interrupted by someone at the fundraiser who called for a ceasefire. It’s unclear who that person is.

The Vice President paused and told participants to take a minute.

“We live in a democracy. This is a very difficult time, and it’s important that we all agree that people should have the freedom to have their voices heard,” she said.

The Vice President faced a crowd, some seated and others standing, gathered near a pool outside. Trees had lights strung around them.

She said it’s a very “heart breaking” and “heavy time” for anyone who understands and cares, adding that they have to fight against antisemitism and Islamophobia.

“We’ve already been dealing with hate in various forms these last several years,” she said.

The Vice President acknowledged the passing of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter. “What a beautiful soul she had,” Harris said.

“We love our country,” and the upcoming election is going to be a “test of our willingness to fight for this country,” she said.

Noting that she was recently in San Francisco to meet with world leaders for the APEC summit, Harris said she’s been asked multiple times if they’re going to win the election.

“This is a very critical moment in the history of our country and the history of the world, and so much of what we have each fought for and believed in our entire lives is at stake in this election and in this moment,” she said. Even though winning reelection is going to be difficult, Harris emphasized multiple times during her remarks “we will win.”

She listed off a number of her administration’s accomplishments, including keeping the cost of insulin down for seniors, helping to provide affordable high-speed internet for Americans, appointing more diversity to the federal bench, and dealing with the climate crisis.

“Lots of accomplishments. The challenge we’ve got is to let folks know who brung it to him,” she said. She adds that the measure of strength is based on who you lift up and a real leader leads with empathy.

“The bottom line is we are going to win. It is not going to be easy. It will not be easy. There are powerful forces in our country right now that are trying to divide our nation. And it will be incumbent on us to hold it together for the sake of the strength of our nation and our future,” she said.

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