LOS ANGELES, California — California Gov. Gavin Newsom defended the “wine cave” fundraisers that came in for criticism from candidates onstage at the Democrat debate Thursday night at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) attacked South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg for holding a high-dollar fundraiser on Sunday in a lavishly-decorated cave at the Hall winery in Napa Valley.
“Part of the event took place in a so-called “wine cave” under a chandelier of 1,500 Swarovski crystals,” CNN reported.
But Newsom, who has been involved in the wine industry for decades, was annoyed.
“The only thing that annoys me — that cave’s been used by Democrats all across the country for fundraising … Probably a hundred congressional representatives have benefited from the use of that.”
Asked by a reporter whether he himself had used it, Newsom responded: “Are you kidding? I’m in the business, so I know that place well.”
The governor was also upset that candidates were attacking fundraising among wealthy donors.
“I don’t know that this is healthy. Democrats are good at begrudging people,” Newsom lamented, noting that the legal donation limit in federal races was $2800. “I don’t know why someone that’s had success should apologize for it, or be embarrassed by it, or now no longer be allowed to participate in the democratic process … and I don’t know if that’s healthy for the party and the country.”
Earlier in the week, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) had raised money off criticizing the Buttigieg “wine cave” event.
Sanders adviser Jeff Weaver and surrogate Nina Turner showed up in the spin room after the debate wearing black t-shirts advertising a mocking website, “PetesWineCave.com.” (The web page redirects to a Sanders donation page.)
Newsom also offered his verdict on the winner of the debate: “Biden. That’s my exit poll … Cogent, and passionate. There was an energy that was demonstrable.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.