LOS ANGELES - President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden continued their Los Angeles-area fundraising visit Saturday, while police continued to investigate numerous acts of vandalism by protesters after the president's appearance at a star-studded fundraiser Friday in Holmby Hills.
President Biden attended a "campaign meeting" at a home on Burk Place in the Trousdale Estates portion of Beverly Hills around midday Saturday, according to the White House. After that, Biden was attending a shiva at the residence of Lyn and Norman Lear in honor of the legendary television producer's death Tuesday at the age of 101.
Biden's motorcade returned to his hotel at 1:59 p.m., where he was scheduled to remain until departing for additional campaign events Saturday afternoon.
On Friday, the president was greeted by celebrities, several California elected officials and a gaggle of "Free Gaza" protesters estimated at 1,000-strong outside the fundraiser in Holmby Hills, where Biden spoke for more than 10 minutes.
The protesters had gathered Friday afternoon to condemn U.S. funding of Israeli military strikes in Gaza with one holding a sign, "No votes for mass murderer."
"At one point an unlawful assembly and dispersal order was issued due to the protesters' actions including throwing objects at officers and passing vehicles," Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore said in a statement.
"The crowd slowly dispersed and no arrests were made, no use of force, and no officers were injured."
Protesters tagged several Westwood businesses, Fox11 reported.
Someone spray-painted "Free Gaza" on the wall of an apartment building on Wilshire Boulevard across from Sinai Temple, the Daily News reported. Some of the building's residents inside threw objects at the crowd, according to the Daily News.
"The LAPD is aware of the acts of vandalism that occurred in the Westwood area last night by protestors who marched from an earlier demonstration. The graffiti is being removed today and crime reports have been taken," the LAPD announced Saturday.
"Unfortunately, given the nature of the crowd coupled with their movements and the incident commander's concern the group would attempt to enter the nearby freeway, the Department was unable to immediately identify the individuals responsible," police continued.
"The LAPD is actively investigating these crimes. While the LAPD fully supports 1st Amendment rights for peaceful demonstrations, we will not tolerate violence or vandalism of any kind."
Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, condemned the vandalism.
"The anti-Semitic acts and vandalism in Westwood are despicable. There is no `context' in which anti-Semitism is acceptable. It is vile, repugnant and abhorrent," Lieu wrote on X. "I urge law enforcement to investigate and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law."
Jill Biden is also hitting the trail in the Southland this weekend, appearing at a campaign fundraising event Saturday at NeueHouse Hollywood hosted by Matthew Crowley and Martha Leon De La Barra.
The first lady was introduced by actress Connie Britton and spoke for 11 minutes to an audience of about 100 guests, according to a pool report.
"I wish that this election were about simple policy differences. I wish it were about differences of character or merit. But fundamentally, what this election will be about is democracy," she said.
"We are the party defending it, not the one tearing it at its seams. We are the party that holds sacred the peaceful transfer of power, not the one that assaulted the Capitol on January 6. You and I -- we are the party protecting the right of this nation's people to live freely, not the one praising the oppressive thumb of dictators."
After the speech, she participated in a discussion moderated by actress Elizabeth Banks.
During his speech Friday, President Biden focused on the threat he believes former President Donald Trump poses to democracy.
"Literally, I believe, the future of American democracy is at stake," Biden said at the home of former U.S. ambassador to Spain James Costos and designer Michael Smith. "The greatest threat Trump poses is to our democracy, because if we lose that, we lose everything.
"We will be one of those generations that can say, `We saved democracy."'
Polls have shown Trump holds an overwhelming lead in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. Other polls have shown he has a slight lead over Biden in a potential 2024 general election race.
Biden also discussed his administration's economic record and the confirmation of more than 160 federal judges.
Jill Biden, filmmaker Steven Spielberg, director Rob Reiner, television producer Shonda Rhimes, Gov. Gavin Newsom, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, and Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, were among those in attendance.
Pelosi reportedly co-hosted the event along with former L.A. mayoral candidate and billionaire Rick Caruso.
Singer Lenny Kravitz performed after Biden's speech.
According to Deadline, tickets ranged from $1,000 to $500,000. Those who contributed $25,000 or more had access to a photo line.
Republican Party officials condemned Biden's fundraising swing.
"Today, Biden will listen to the concerns of Hollywood elitists instead of ordinary Californians suffering a violent crime epidemic, increased cost of living and Gavin Newsom's record $68 billion deficit," National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Ben Petersen said in a statement Friday. "No wonder Biden is dragging down Democrats in competitive House races."
California Republican Party Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson said in a statement Biden's approval level in California is at "record lows."
"It seems even deep-blue California can't get behind his disastrous agenda of high inflation, open borders, weak foreign policy, failing schools, and rampant crime," Patterson said. "No amount of time spent rubbing elbows with Hollywood elites while bragging about the imaginary merits of `Bidenomics' will change the fact that Joe Biden's presidency is an abject failure."
Biden arrived at Los Angeles International Airport from Las Vegas at around 5 p.m. Friday after making a speech about how his "Investing in America Agenda" is advancing his vision for world-class infrastructure across the nation.
He walked off Air Force One quickly and entered a military helicopter for a flight to Santa Monica, where he then entered a motorcade to attend the fundraiser.
First lady Jill Biden arrived in the area first, landing early Friday afternoon at Hollywood Burbank Airport. She traveled directly to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to tour research laboratories as part of the White House Initiative on Women's Health Research. She toured the Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Center and Smidt Heart Institute, according to the White House.
"Research on women's health has been underfunded for decades and many conditions that mostly and only affect women or affect women differently have received limited attention like those debilitating migraines and undiagnosed heart attacks," Biden told a crowd of about 300 people following her tour.
She added that because of those funding gaps, "we understand far too little about these conditions and how to help the millions of women who struggle with them. And these gaps are even greater for communities that historically have been excluded from research, including women of color and women with disabilities."
The White House Initiative on Women's Health Research is aimed at "galvanizing the federal government and the private and philanthropic sectors to spur innovation, unleash transformative investment to close research gaps, and improve women's health," according to the White House.
The president is set to depart Los Angeles early Sunday afternoon, bound for Washington, D.C.