“Mar-a-Lago … has increasingly become a source of controversy and pain for many of our volunteers, employees and supporters,” said the American Red Cross.A sizable ― and growing ― number of nonprofits are walking away from hosting fundraisers at Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s posh resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
On Thursday, the Cleveland Clinic and American Cancer Society both announced they were pulling the plug on their galas there. By Friday, seven groups had canceled events.
Other organizations backing out include the Autism Project of Palm Beach County, the Salvation Army, Susan G. Komen, the American Red Cross, and American Friends of Magen David Adom, an Israeli EMS and blood bank provider, according to a tally by The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold.
The mass exodus follows a week in which Trump repeatedly declined to condemn white supremacists who descended on Charlottesville, Virginia, and provoked deadly violence there.
“You have people who are very fine people on both sides,” Trump said on Tuesday, equating counterprotesters to marchers who carried torches, Confederate and Nazi flags and shouted racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic epithets.
“The American Red Cross has decided we cannot host our annual fundraising event at Mar-a-Lago, as it has increasingly become a source of controversy and pain for many of our volunteers, employees and supporters,” the organization explained in a statement on Friday.
“The Red Cross provides assistance without discrimination to all people in need, regardless of nationality, race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or political opinions, and we must be clear and unequivocal in our defense of that principle,” it concluded.
The Salvation Army, which hosted a “Holiday Snow Ball” at Mar-a-Lago, said it’s leaving because the venue distracts from the nonprofit’s mission of “helping those in need.”
“Because the conversation has shifted away from the purpose of this event, we will not host it at Mar-a-Lago,” the organization explained in a statement.
Numerous business leaders, politicians and artists have already scrambled to disassociate themselves from Trump, and the list of groups bailing on Mar-a-Lago will likely grow.
Leaders In Furthering Education, for instance, is still tentatively holding its Dec. 2 gala at the resort. But on Friday, the group’s president, Lois Pope, penned a blistering statement urging the board to find a new venue.
“Indeed, the hatred, vitriol and Anti-Semitic and racist views being spewed by Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists are repugnant and repulsive ― and they are antithetical to everything that this country, and I personally stand for,” Pope wrote.
“Anyone who would demonstrate even a modicum of support for them by insisting that there are ‘good people’ among them is not deserving of my personal patronage or that of my foundations,” she added.