Five more philanthropic organizations said Friday they have pulled their fundraising events from President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club following an intense social media push calling on people to boycott charities that use the venue.
A total of eight groups have now pulled their events from Mar-a-Lago since the president’s off-the-cuff, combative and controversial news conference on Tuesday at Trump Tower.
A ninth charity, Palm Beach philanthropist Lois Pope’s Lady in Red gala for education initiatives, may depart as well. Pope, a self-described Trump loyalist, issued a statement Friday saying she had recommended to the organization’s board of directors that they seek a new location.
On Friday, Susan G. Komen, the world’s largest nonprofit in the fight against breast cancer, the International Red Cross, The Salvation Army, Autism Association of Palm Beach County, and Big Dog Ranch Rescue in Loxahatchee Groves announced they would not hold their events at Trump’s Palm Beach club during the winter fundraising season.
Those announcements came a day after the Cleveland Clinic, American Cancer Society and the American Friends of Magen David Adom, an organization supporting Israel disaster relief programs, said they would seek alternative venues. The Cleveland Clinic plans to hold its Feb. 23 ball at The Breakers in Palm Beach.
The International Red Cross announcement, in particular, marks the end of an era. Mar-a-Lago’s original owner, Marjorie Merriweather Post, hosted the IRC’s first ball there and Trump has been a frequent chairman of the event. And Big Dog Rescue, which counts Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump as a gala co-chair, decided Friday to move its fundraiser only a day after it reiterated its intention to stick with Mar-a-Lago.
In a statement Friday, Laurie Simmons, who heads Big Dog Ranch Rescue, said the group now plans to hold its annual luncheon at its new Loxahatchee Groves shelter.
“In the interest of being better able to focus on our core mission of helping animals and saving dogs, we have decided to hold our next annual luncheon at our new facility in Loxahatchee Groves,” Simmons said. “Holding the event at our facility will also give our donors a first-hand look at our world-class dog rescue operation.”
The exodus, however, coincided with a firestorm of criticism on social media. Many Twitter users called on people to boycott the charities, pointing to Trump’s controversial statements on the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend, including that “both sides” were at fault in the confrontations between neo-Nazis, white supremacists and counter protesters.