There were inferences galore of Donald Trump as Thanos at Senator Kamala Harris’ fundraiser tonight with some of The Avengers and the Russo brothers, as the 2020 election clearly moves into endgame territory.
However, on the birthday of the VP nominee and amidst ample discussion of the “importance of honor and courage and unity,” one absent Avenger and the former Celebrity Apprentice host were marquee players too on Tuesday.
Sen, Harris made a distinct point of mentioning the recently deceased Chadwick Boseman and how she wanted to “honor his life and the memory of him.” On the flip side, the first woman of color on a national ticket told Captain America himself Chris Evans that “I couldn’t agree with you more about the fish, by the way.” Earlier in the evening, before Harris joined the event, Evans had told donors that “I think the fish rots from the head down” in a swipe at Trump.
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Punctuated by a surprise appearance by Robert Downey Jr and the candidate’s husband Doug Emhoff, the blockbuster of a Hollywood and DC crossover saw Sen. Harris chatting virtually with Evans, Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Mark Ruffalo (Hulk), Don Cheadle (War Machine), Paul Rudd (Antman) and Zoe Saldana (Gamnora). With donations as low as $1, the 70-minute grassroots fundraiser was as much an exercise in PR as finance for the Democrats’ ticket
“First of all, I’m a huge fan, so I’m like a kid right now being with all of you guys and all together,” California’s junior Senator told Joe Russo. “And Don has been a friend for a long time and Bridgid (his partner) and I just want to thank you guys for what you’re doing to put yourselves out there, to be so engaged and to speak up in this way because you certainly don’t have to,” Harris told the Russos and the assembled Avengers. “And you’re all so talented.”
The self-declared Black Panther fan then addressed the death of Boseman on August 28 from a long battle with cancer.
“You know, actually where I am now, the studio from my D.C. headquarters, if you will, is at Howard University,” Sen. Harris stated. “And that’s – Chadwick and I actually both attended Howard University and I think about him all the time, there are monuments and memorials set up on campus to him and he was a very dear friend,” she added, with obvious sadness in her voice.
“We all know honor and decency matters, and it matters whether you are saving the universe from Thanos or fighting for the soul of our nation,” Sen Harris said at another point. “Joe Biden feels very strongly about this too,” she added of her poll leading running mate, the former VP.
“If the Avengers can assemble from across the galaxy, then the American people can get together from wherever we are, whoever we voted for in the last election, and whatever language our grandmother spoke and come together to get our country on the right track,” Harris noted as the hard-fought election moves into its final two weeks.
“I just wanted to drop in and say happy birthday to my superhero wife,” the clearly pre-recorded video from Emhoff exclaimed. “I wish we could be together watching yet another Avengers movie right now, but this is a next best thing,” the potential First Man (think about it) added.
“One of the last times we saw you all together Thanos tried to snap his fingers and kill half the universe, but thanks to science we solved the problem,” Emhoff went on to say. “But the threat we face now isn’t entirely different. A global pandemic, a climate crisis, and a president who is making it all worse. He is a villain fit for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, except he tweets more, and he’s an active superspreader.”
Of course, by the very nature of the fundraiser and its primary participants, there was some fun and games too.
For one thing, Saldana sang Happy Birthday to Harris when she joined the event about 20-minutes in. “That was the saddest rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ anybody’s ever sung,” said Rudd with near perfect comic timing.
While Anthony Mackie (Falcon) was unable to get on the Zoom call, Downey did make it and Iron Man helped lead the group and Harris in a movie trivia round, for better or worse.
Yet, with all that, overall, the tone kept coming back to the seriousness of this election for America, democracy and the world.
When Johansson asked her what kind of superpower she would like to have, Harris said that it was “the ability to see a world and imagine a world where we have peace and we have equity, and where we cherish this God-given planet and where we value education of our children and then imagine that and then work to get that. I think that is an incredible quality that is actually a super power when people have it.”