Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club -- or the Winter White House, as he prefers to call it -- may not be the Palm Beach social-calendar hot spot this winter. The president can haul down all the foreign heads of state that he wishes -- as long as Congress agrees to increase the Secret Service budget currently busted by the extravagant lifestyle of America's self-appointed royal family. Charity fundraiser event cancellations are fast and furious after the president's sensational, intemperate comments about Charlottesville at a Trump Tower infrastructure news conference gone rogue last Tuesday.
"The Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach is a nonprofit dedicated to protecting and celebrating the unique architectural and cultural heritage of Palm Beach," the group explained in a Facebook post on Saturday, announcing its decision to withdraw from Mar-a-Lago as the venue for the event. "Given the current environment surrounding Mar-a-Lago, we have made the decision to move our annual dinner dance."
On Sunday the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society announced it too would be moving its upcoming event away from the Trump property.
"We have an unyielding commitment to inspire people to act on behalf of wildlife and the natural world," said Zoo CEO & President Andrew Aiken in a statement Sunday. "After thoughtful consideration by Zoo leadership, we have decided it is important that we not allow distractions to deter us from our mission and culture.”
As of Sunday, 14 of the scheduled 16 major fundraising events at Mar-a-Lago have been cancelled. The Palm Beach Police Foundation's annual Policeman Ball and the Palm Beach County Republican Party's annual Lincoln Day Dinner. Other cancellations include the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the American Cancer Society, American Friends of Magen David Adom, and the Susan G. Komen breast cancer charity.
Laurel Baker, executive director of the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce, of which Mar-a-Lago is a member, went public last Thursday asking charities to do a moral gut check before doing business at the club.
"Look at your mission statement, and [evaluate] if you still defend Trump...see if this is really the direction you want to go," Baker, who's been on the executive committee of the chamber of commerce for 17 years, advised.
A chamber of commerce works to promote its members' interests, but Baker says that it's her duty to take a stand when she feels the values of her community are under attack.
She added: ”Personally, I do not feel that supporting him, directly or indirectly, speaks well of any organization. We're looking for integrity, we're looking for honesty."
Since our Monday post, Gateway for Cancer Research decided to withdraw from Mar-a-Lago as the venue for its St. Patrick Day event in March 2018. The Unicorn Children's Foundation, based in Boca Raton, cancelled plans to hold a fundraiser luncheon at the club. The group anticipated that its event would have raised $160,000. “At this time, we are exploring options to address this $160,000 shortfall or we will need to cut funding support from several critical programs and services,” Sharon Alexander, the group's chief executive said.