Joe Biden Fundraiser Co-Hosts Haim Saban And Casey Wasserman Test Positive For Covid; Will Miss L.A. Event — Exclusive

UPDATE: President Joe Biden, speaking to attendees at tonight’s Los Angeles fundraiser, said that Donald Trump “is dragging us back to the past and not leading us to the future.”

“We stand with the truth and we are going to defeat him and his lies,” Biden said at the event, according to a pool report. The event was at the home of Haim Saban, but he was not there after testing positive for Covid, nor was the other main co-host, Casey Wasserman, who also tested positive.

More from Deadline

In his remarks, which lasted about 15 minutes, Biden presented a contrast between himself and Trump, as donors have been calling for the campaign to sharpen its attacks on the president’s likely rival.

Biden also talked of the death of Alexei Navalny, blaming it on Vladimir Putin. He called it “outrageous” that Trump has not condemned the Russian leader.

“Time and again Republicans show they are a party of chaos and disunity,” Biden said. “They shout about problems but offer nothing. They have no platform.”

“Are they here to solve problems or just weaponize them for political attacks? I’m here to serve the people.”

There were some pro-Palestinian protesters along the motorcade route.

PREVIOUSLY: President Joe Biden’s return to the Hollywood fundraiser circuit also includes a familiar name: Covid 19.

Haim Saban and Casey Wasserman each tested positive for Covid ahead of tonight’s event, forcing them to miss the event, multiple sources told Deadline. The White House still has strict testing protocols in place for anyone who comes in close contact with the president.

It was already known to the campaign earlier today that Saban had tested positive and would miss event. Taking a test himself, co-host Wasserman tested positive in the last few hours. The president has not yet arrived at the fundraiser.

Both Saban and Wasserman were scheduled to give remarks. A well-known support of Israel, Saban was to talk about the situation in the Middle East. Each had planned to speak about their gratitude of Biden’s support for Israel in its war with Hamas. Author and former TV executive Leslie Gilbert-Lurie, a co-host along with husband Cliff Gilbert-Lurie, will instead introduce Biden.

(L-R) Haim Saban, Casey Wasserman
(L-R) Haim Saban, Casey Wasserman

Participants in the deep-pocketed event are all being tested before the president’s arrival at the Saban residence, which is expected soon. Other luminaries at the event include Jane Fonda, ITV America boss Adam Sher, Greg Proops and Jeffrey Katzenberg. Katzenberg is serving as campaign co-chair.

Coming straight from DC, Biden arrived in Los Angeles at around 3:30 p.m. PT, then was scheduled to attend a VIP reception before delivering the remarks at the event. Tickets started at $3,300 per person and rose to $250,000 for the co-chair level.

Among those also signed on to the event are John Emerson, former U.S. ambassador to Germany, and his wife Kimberly Marteau Emerson; developer Thomas Safran; Bob Daley and Carol Bayer Sager; Eric Baker, co-founder of StubHub and co-founder of Viagogo, and Dr. Nicole Baker; Martha Leon De La Barra, global vice president of construction NeueHouse at CultureWorks Group, and Matt Crowley; attorney Carol Hamilton and David Khon; attorney Alicia Minana; California Democracy Fund founder Nicole Mutchnik; and Howard and Stephanie Sherwood.

Saban, a longtime top Democratic donor, also has been among the most prominent voices in the party advocating for strong support of Israel. Other hosts also have been involved with the Anti-Defamation League and other organizations combating antisemitism and hate.

The president is set to give a speech in Culver City on Wednesday before heading up to San Francisco for more fundraisers.

Best of Deadline

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.