Biden Targets Racial Wealth Gap at NY Fundraiser With Black CEOs

(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden said he was committed to closing the racial wealth gap at a campaign fundraiser hosted by prominent Black business leaders in New York on Monday, seeking to highlight the economic gains for Americans under his administration.

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“Black Americans play a critical role in the economy, and disparities exist in every dimension in Black economic life, including representation, participation and pay. I’m committed to addressing these disparities,” Biden said Monday at an event at the St. Regis hotel in Midtown Manhattan.

Among the hosts for the event were General Catalyst Partners LLC Chairman and former American Express Co. CEO Kenneth Chenault, Recognize Partners LP co-founder Charles Phillips, Jr., former Darden Restaurants Inc. CEO Clarence Otis, and former Merck & Co. Inc. CEO Kenneth Frazier, according to people familiar with the matter.

Also on the host committee were Tony Coles, co-founder of Yumanity Therapeutics Inc., and Richelieu Dennis, founder of Sundial Brands LLC and Essence Ventures LLC. House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries and Maryland Governor Wes Moore were listed as special guests, with Jeffries joining by pre-recorded video.

Biden has credited Black voters with helping him win the White House in 2020, with exit polls showing he carried 87% of the vote. Yet that support has eroded in recent polls. Civil rights groups have expressed frustration with the administration’s progress on efforts such as voting rights, police reform, gun violence and student loan debt.

Biden on Monday cited low unemployment numbers for Black Americans and high labor force participation, and the growth in small Black businesses, which he said were starting up at the fastest rate in 25 years. Biden said last year his administration had awarded $70 billion in federal contracts to disadvantaged businesses.

Biden more broadly has struggled to sell voters on his economic agenda, despite a stretch of positive data.

Monday’s event marked the start of a fundraising blitz for Biden. The president is headlining four fundraising events this week in New York before a quarterly campaign finance deadline on Sept. 30.

Earlier: Biden Hits New York’s Broadway as Fundraising Blitz Begins

He is also scheduled to speak at a Monday event featuring performances by Broadway stars Lin-Manuel Miranda, Sara Bareilles and Ben Platt, among others.

The president is expected to headline at least nine fundraising events total before month’s end.

(Updates throughout. An earlier version corrected the list of hosts.)

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