Infrastructure law transit Los Angeles
President Biden greets a worker on his visit to a Los Angeles construction site. Photo credit: @POTUS via Twitter

President Joe Biden attended a fundraiser in Brentwood Thursday as part of a swing through Southern California that will also take him to Orange County Friday.

More than 100 guests attended the evening event, at the home of famed television executive producer Marcy Carsey, held beneath a large white tent with a bar in an outdoor area behind the residence’s garage.

The president participated in a photo opportunity with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House Democrats including Ted Lieu and Brad Sherman, both from Los Angeles County, among other congressional representatives.

“This president came into office with a vision about greatness for our country,” Pelosi said. “This is a great president.”

Biden thanked Pelosi and called her “the single best speaker in American history.” He also said of his legislative record, “It’s fair to say that we’ve gotten more done in the past two years than any president in the past has.”

He concluded by sharing his optimism about the country’s future and urging attendees to support Democrats in the upcoming election. “Please, please, please keep a Democratic House of Representatives,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Biden paid a visit to a Metro subway construction site in West Los Angeles, touting federal investments in the nation’s infrastructure and saying the dollars will support projects across the Southland, including improvements for airports and the ports.

Overlooking a future subway terminus near the West Los Angeles veterans complex, Biden said the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was making funding available for critical projects locally.

“You need to connect more neighborhoods, ease traffic congestion, air pollution, make it easier for people to get around to where they need to go,” Biden told a crowd of dignitaries and workers. “That’s exactly what you’re doing. That’s exactly what you’re doing. But it’s being funded in part through this infrastructure law – through local taxes and the infrastructure law.”

Biden touted the project, saying it would take 27,000 cars off the roads. He also said it would result in 124,000 fewer tons of carbon dioxide being released into the air, and save 14 million gallons of gas.

Biden also talked about efforts to rebuild bridges and other transportation infrastructure across the state, along with ensuring access to the internet in low-income neighborhoods and bolstering water delivery systems.

He noted the nation’s recent history, calling it “a rough four or five years for the country” but he sees “bright spots where America’s reasserting itself.

“I’ve never been more optimistic about America’s future, particularly relative to the rest of the world,” Biden said. “We’re in a better position than any nation in the world, and every other nation that I’m aware of is aware of it … We just have to remember who we are. We are the United States of America, and there’s nothing, nothing that’s beyond our capacity, nothing, when we decide we’re going to do it together.”

After his roughly 20-minute speech, Biden shook hands with attendees and posed for photos. Among those on hand were Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Sen. Alex Padilla, D-California, and Reps. Maxine Waters and Nanette Barragan, as well as Lieu and Sherman.

Also in attendance was Rep. Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, and a mayoral candidate – who Biden backs in the upcoming runoff election against businessman Rick Caruso.

Biden referred to her as the “soon-to-be” mayor as he began his remarks.

The president left the event, but into his motorcade initially skipped the trip back to his hotel in Westwood, to make an unannounced stop at Mexican restaurant Tacos 1986 on Kinross Avenue.

Biden interacted with workers and when he took out cash to pay for his food, a worker told him he would get a 50% “public service” discount. Biden gave the cashier $60 and told him to give the next customer a free meal. The food bill was $16.45 – covering two quesadillas and six tacos.

Biden arrived at LAX just before 5 p.m. Wednesday, to be greeted by Bass, Garcetti and Padilla.

Early Friday afternoon, Biden will fly from Santa Monica to John Wayne Airport in Orange County, ahead of a 3 p.m. gathering at Irvine Valley Community College. He will discuss “lowering costs for American families,” at the campus according to the White House.

Immediately after that appearance, he will return to the airport to depart for Portland, Ore.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Wednesday that Biden’s appearances in Orange County and Oregon will highlight “his efforts to lower prescription drug costs, protect Medicare and strengthen Social Security, and to fight efforts by congressional Republicans to put Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block and reinstate giveaways to Big Pharma.”

The California Republican Party chided Biden on his visit, calling the state an “odd choice” for the president to use “as a backdrop for bragging about his failed policies,” noting the national-high cost of gas, along with rising crime and homelessness.

“If President Biden is looking for a sympathetic audience to high-five him for a job well done, he’s come to the wrong state,” state Republican Party Chair Jessica Millan Patterson said in a statement. “Californians are suffering under the reckless policies of Joe Biden and the California Democrats who enable his failed agenda.”

– City News Service





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Ellen Bullock