Joe Biden insisted at a ritzy campaign fundraiser Thursday night that he doesn’t take political cash from the fossil fuel industry — but he didn’t explain how that squared with the event’s co-host being a co-founder of a natural gas company.
Speaking at the lavish Upper West Side home of banker David Solomon, Biden sought to clear the air off the bat as it related to the event’s co-host, Andrew Goldman.
“Folks, I know there’s been a lot of attention paid to you showing up tonight. More than I think you anticipated,” Biden opened his speech.
The former vice president said a “misrepresentation” occurred at a CNN climate change town hall on Wednesday night, during which he was asked by a Bernie Sanders supporter why he should be trusted to combat climate change considering the Thursday night fundraiser was to be co-hosted by Goldman, who helped found LNG Western, a Texas-based natural gas producer.
“There was a discussion and I think a mild misrepresentation of what was going on relative to climate,” Biden said.
But the ex-veep didn’t elaborate on what exactly had been misrepresented and didn’t mention Goldman by name.
Instead, Biden maintained his presidential campaign doesn’t depend on any donations from the fossil fuel sector — a pledge echoed by nearly all other Democratic 2020 candidates.
“I just want to be very clear to everyone here: I am committed to not raising money from fossil fuel executives and I am not doing that tonight,” Biden said. “Climate change presents an existential threat, and it is real.”
Of Donald Trump, Biden added, “I’m so tired of having a president who picks fiction over science.”
Biden’s campaign says Goldman shouldn’t be considered a fossil fuel executive because he has stepped down from all day-to-day operations at LNG Western, which is extensively involved in gas drilling in Canada and other parts of the world.
However, the campaign has not addressed Goldman’s dual role as the co-founder of De Cordova Goldman Capital Management, which invests in “natural resources and energy,” according to an entry on LNG Western’s website.
Additionally, Western’s website still lists Goldman as part of the company’s “leadership” team. His LinkedIn profile says he still works for Western.
Goldman did not return a request for comment on Thursday.
A small group of environmentalists who threw a protest outside the fundraiser at Goldman’s Central Park West apartment building weren’t convinced that Biden is up to the task of fighting climate change.
“We got a decade to solve the climate crisis,” Sam Bernherdt, an organizer with activist group Food and Water Action, told the Daily News. “Biden has shown that he can’t do that by holding events like this. He knows where this money is coming from.”
Back inside, Biden spent a large chunk of his speech touting his climate change plan, which aims to wean the U.S. completely off fossil fuels — including natural gas — by 2050.
“We have to start fairly rapidly,” Biden said.
At a fundraiser at the Upper East Side home of real estate baron Jack Rosen earlier in the evening, Biden said tax hikes on the rich are part of his 2020 platform.
“If you have me, y’all are not having a tax cut,” Biden told the wealthy audience, prompting some laughs.
“I’m serious,” he added.
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