President Donald Trump’s so-called “winter White House,” Mar-a-Lago Resort has lost the vast majority of its charity bookings for the year and Palm Beach’s upper crust have moved on from the once-glamorous mansion and club.
According to The Washington Post, even Palm Beach’s Chamber of Commerce has spoken out against holding events at the resort.
“Can you honestly say having an event at Mar-a-Lago, given all that has transpired, is the best stewardship of your efforts?” said the Chamber’s executive director Laurel Baker in August. “The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.”
A fellow Chamber of Commerce official later walked back Baker’s statement, but in recent weeks, the number of bookings at Mar-a-Lago shrank from over 25 to 6. Multiple charities have moved their events to venues removed from the disruptions and delays caused by the comings and goings of the president and negative associations with his politics.
Trump-supporting groups like his fan club “Trumpettes USA” and televangelist Pat Robertson have booked events at Mar-a-Lago to help fill the gap created by the cancelations. The Trumpettes’ event will contribute all of its takings to Mar-a-Lago itself to make up for the businesses that have fled the president’s toxic reputation.
Palm Beach’s wealthy once assembled at Mar-a-Lago, but have now migrated to the Breakers, a club across town that Trump once scorned as a place for his resort’s “leftovers.”
A former Mar-a-Lago member told the Post that his friends were responding to gala invitations with, “If it’s at Mar-a-Lago, then we’re not going.”
“It’s not the charity that matters anymore. It’s the venue,” the ex-member said.
The Red Cross, the Bethesda Hospital Foundation and the group Leaders in Furthering Education have moved their fundraisers elsewhere and have been replaced by the Republican Attorneys General Association, the national Young Republicans and the Palm Beach Republican Party.
The turning-point for most charities was reportedly Trump’s mishandling of the violence in Charlottesville, VA in which he appeared to draw a moral equivalency between racist white nationalists and the people who came to protest against them.