Charities Cancel Mar-a-Lago Events Amid Trump Backlash

20 August, 2017, 03:20 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • Cleveland Clinic Says 2018 Gala Won't Be at Mar-a-Lago

The American Cancer Society (ACS) has backed out of plans to host a 2018 gala at President Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, becoming the latest group of distance itself from the president after he appeared to defend white nationalist protesters in Charlottesville, Va.

"After considerable deliberation, AFMDA - an apolitical and humanitarian aid organization - will not hold its 2018 Palm Beach Celebration of Life Gala at Mar-a-Lago", spokesperson Erik Levis said in a statement. It didn't elaborate. Doctors, nurses, medical students of the OH hospital signed a public letter earlier this year objecting to the choice of venue given President Trump's positions on a variety of issue.

"We thank the staff of Mar-a-Lago for their service over the years", the clinic said. The managing director of Trump's properties in Florida, Bernd Lembcke, did not respond to a phone call seeking comment, either.

The collapse of the councils was an extraordinary rebuke to a president who prides himself on being business-friendly.

The Cleveland Clinic's chief executive, Toby Cosgrove, was among the business leaders on the president's Strategic and Policy Forum that agreed to disband on Wednesday. Its 20,000 square-foot ballroom has massive archways and columns decorated in gold leaf.

It will be the first time in eight years that the Cleveland Clinic has not held its fundraiser at the resort in South Florida, which Trump has dubbed the Winter White House.

But the resort has also become the site of protest by groups who oppose the president's policies and statements.

Two organizations that have announced plans to hold events at Mar-a-Lago in the coming months confirmed they'll go ahead with their plans.

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The Cleveland Clinic was criticized last February for failing to cancel the annual fundraiser after Trump signed an executive order that halted immigration from seven countries.

Some charities contacted by The Associated Press said they had no plans to change venues.

The nonprofit - which has hosted the annual event at Mar-a-Lago for at least the past decade - has not yet selected another venue.

Mar-a-Lago has faced growing scrutiny from supporters of Trump's "buy American, hire American" agenda because of its recent requests for foreign workers.

A spokeswoman said the event raises about $1 million each year on average. The foundation declined further comment.

Baker, head of the Palm Beach chamber, spoke vigorously against Mar-a-Lago on Thursday, saying that her directive to nearby charities was "If you're looking at your mission statement, can you honestly say having an event at Mar-a-Lago, given all that has transpired, is the best stewardship of your efforts?"

"There's a lot of concern from these charities, where their boards of directors are probably not wanting to be at Mar-a-Lago for a variety of reasons", including reasons related to Trump, he said.

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