Former Vice President Joe Biden attended a fundraiser Thursday that was hosted by a fossil fuel company co-founder after he faced backlash because he has pledged not to accept money from the fossil fuel industry.
During CNN's town hall on climate change Wednesday night, Biden was accused by an audience member of taking money from a fossil fuel executive despite signing on to the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge.
“He’s not a fossil fuel executive,” Biden responded, referring to Andrew Goldman, one of the fundraiser's hosts.
Goldman co-founded the company Western LNG, a natural gas company based in Houston, though he does not currently hold any executive duties. He was also an adviser to Biden when he served in the Senate.
Biden's campaign staff pushed back on the statements and Goldman's role in the company was clarified later in the town hall.
Still, climate change activists called on Biden to cancel the fundraising event.
While opening his speech Thursday evening, Biden addressed his decision to appear at the event, saying that the discussion at the climate forum was a "misrepresentation," according to a pool report.
“I just want to be very clear to everyone here: I am committed to not raising money from fossil fuel executives and I am not doing that tonight," Biden said. "Climate change presents an existential threat, and it is real."
He did not specifically reference Goldman during the speech.
Biden said he is committed to ending subsidies for fossil fuel companies, a position he shares with other Democrats running for president.
A group of protesters outside the event in New York chanted "no more gas, no more oil. Keep the carbon in the soil."
Handful of protesters demonstrating outside @JoeBiden fundraiser on Upper West Side that’s co-hosted by a co-founder of a fossil fuel company. Among the chants: “Biden, Biden, you can’t hide, we can see your greedy side.” pic.twitter.com/YJoH4QGzQt
— Chris Sommerfeldt (@C_Sommerfeldt) September 5, 2019
Biden also discussed addressed gun violence as a top priority for his administration should he be elected president. He reiterated his support for strong background checks and a ban on high-capacity assault rifles.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden attends fundraiser by Andrew Goldman, Western LNG co-founder