On stage on Wednesday night at the CNN town hall about climate change issues, the 2020 Democratic candidate said he would reconsider attending a high-dollar fundraiser hosted by a businessman in the fossil fuel industry after he was challenged about the event itself.
Joe Biden is defending himself against criticism that the co-founder of a liquefied natural gas firm is hosting a fundraiser for him despite his pledge not to accept fossil fuel money for his 2020 presidential bid.
"How can we trust you to hold these corporations and executives accountable for their crimes against humanity when we know that, tomorrow, you are holding a high-dollar fundraiser hosted by Andrew Goldman, a fossil fuel executive?" The company's leading project is an offshore floating gas production facility created to provide Canadian gas to the growing market in Asia.
Before co-founding Western LNG, Goldman served as an adviser to Biden until he entered the White House in 2009, CNBC reported.
During the CNN town hall, Issac Larkin, a doctoral candidate at Northwestern University and a volunteer with Sunrise Chicago, directly confronted Biden over the planned $2,800-per-ticket fundraiser, which is set to take place at the NY home of investment banker David Solomon. Goldman also co-founded De Cordova Goldman Capital Management, which invested in "natural resources and energy". CNN's Anderson Cooper said, in restating an audience member's question.
"There is a fundraiser tomorrow night". It's given by a guy named Andrew Goldman. Goldman is the co-founder of Houston-based natural gas production company Western LNG. "It's off the coast of British Columbia and it's going to provide Canadian gas to parts of Northern Asia".
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"I didn't realize he does that", Biden said of Goldman. That's what we look at. "I've kept that pledge".
Goldman, however, is no longer "involved with the day to day of the company", Biden spokeswoman Symone D. Sanders said on Twitter.
Biden is one 18 Democratic presidential candidates who signed a pledge, crafted by various climate action advocates, "not to take contributions over $200 from oil, gas, and coal industry executives, lobbyists, and PACs and instead prioritize the health of our families, climate, and democracy over fossil fuel industry profits". He added, "Goldman was not on the board, he was not involved at all in the operation of the company at all. He's not on the board of the company, nor the board of the portfolio company".
Goldman, who is listed among Western LNG's leadership on the company's website, did not immediately respond to a phone call and email seeking comment.
"If that turns out to be true, then I will not in any way accept his help", Biden said Wednesday when called out at a CNN townhall on climate change. Among Democrats, Democratic-leaners and independents with no leaning, Biden is first choice of 28 percent and second choice of 18 percent.