© 2024 KPCW

Spencer F. Eccles Broadcast Center
PO Box 1372 | 460 Swede Alley
Park City | UT | 84060
Office: (435) 649-9004 | Studio: (435) 655-8255

Music & Artist Inquiries: music@kpcw.org
News Tips & Press Releases: news@kpcw.org
Volunteer Opportunities
General Inquiries: info@kpcw.org
Listen Like a Local Park City & Heber City Summit & Wasatch counties, Utah
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Charities Pull Fundraisers Planned for Trump's Mar-A-Lago

On Friday, three well-known charities — the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and Susan G. Komen — announced they are canceling plans for fundraising events at President Trump's Palm Beach country club, Mar-a-Lago.

The three joined a growing list of nonprofits that have severed ties with the exclusive, Trump-owned resort. Others include the Cleveland Clinic and the American Cancer Society.

The cancellations come in the wake of Trump's controversial comments made earlier this week when he said that "both sides were to blame" for last weekend's deadly violence involving white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va.

Trump has been under heavy criticism all week for his remarks, which prompted many corporate leaders to bail out of White House advisory boards. So many CEOs resigned that the president responded by disbanding three committees — one focused on shaping business strategy, another on boosting manufacturing and third on improving infrastructure.

After the CEOs started refusing to work with the president, pressure increased on charities to give up their annual trips to Mar-a-Lago for galas.

For example, Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove had served on one of the disbanded business councils. And a day after that dismantling happened, the hospital announced that "after careful consideration," Cleveland Clinic would not hold its 2018 event at Mar-a-Lago.

Earlier this year, despite a petition drive by doctors and medical students, the hospital had refused to cancel its fundraiser there. When medical students and other groups renewed the push recently, Cleveland Clinic remained firm, saying Mar-a-Lago met its needs.

Now, it does not.

The American Red Cross said in its statement that it must provide "assistance without discrimination to all people in need, regardless of nationality, race, religious beliefs, or political opinions."

The charity's connection with the president's club "has increasingly become a source of controversy and pain for many of our volunteers, employees and supporters," it said.

The Salvation Army issued a similar statement, saying its event at Mar-a-Lago helped raise money for disaster victims and the homeless. "Because the conversation has shifted away from the purpose of this event," the group says, "we will not host it at Mar-a-Lago."

Susan G. Komen, a charity that invests in breast cancer research, confirmed it is also withdrawing from Mar-a-Lago and is seeking a new venue for its fundraising event.

The rash of high-profile cancellations has created something of a scramble in Palm Beach as charities look for other suitable venues. The Palm Beach Post says other nearby hotels and the Palm Beach County Convention Center are hearing from interested groups.

For Trump, the cancellations will mean a significant loss of income, unless the staff at Mar-a-Lago finds new customers who want to book a 20,000-square-foot ballroom embellished with 24-karat gold leafing, modeled, as Trump told Florida Design magazine, after Versailles.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

As NPR's Miami correspondent, Greg Allen reports on the diverse issues and developments tied to the Southeast. He covers everything from breaking news to economic and political stories to arts and environmental stories. He moved into this role in 2006, after four years as NPR's Midwest correspondent.