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The NBC News pool reporter said she was able to listen to Biden’s opening remarks but was “quickly kicked off the phone call” once the likely Democrat nominee opened the floor to questions.
“The last thing your pooler heard was Biden thanking donors and saying he was “open to questions” before a robotic voice exclaimed “goodbye,” Marianna Sotomayor wrote.
She noted that her report was “written based just on his opening remarks because your pooler was quickly kicked off the phone call when Biden said he was ready to take questions from any of the 25 donors present.”
She reported that Biden’s opening remarks touched on the “enormous opportunity to make our country work for the millions of ordinary men” who helped build the U.S.
The abrupt end of the call raised speculation about transparency. Rufus Gifford, Biden’s deputy campaign manager, said in a statement that “tonight’s event was a new format as we enter a new phase of the general election campaign.”
He said the campaign will continue to grant reporter access to these virtual finance events as “part of our campaign’s commitment to transparency—one that vastly exceeds anything that Donald Trump and his campaign have offered the American people.”
Matt Viser, a political reporter for the Washington Post, took to Twitter to say the Biden campaign has “been quite good about opening fundraisers so the public can get a sense of what he says to wealthy donors. Not tonight.”
The Trump campaign took to Twitter to criticize the former vice president’s campaigns move.
“Joe Biden held a virtual video fundraiser tonight with wealthy Wall Street donors,” the campaign wrote. “But reporters weren’t allowed to see the video or know the identity of the donors. And the Biden campaign kicked the reporters off the phone before Biden started to answer questions.”
CNBC recently reported that the Biden campaign in ramping up fundraising efforts to compete with Trump in the age of virtual events. The report said Trump and the Republican National Committee raised $61 million in April compared to Biden and the Democratic National Committee raised $60.5 million.