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3 nonprofits cancel fundraisers at Trump's Mar-A-Lago

Posted at 8:22 AM, Aug 18, 2017

First, top CEOs abandoned President Trump. Now, major organizations are canceling plans to hold events at the president's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

The Cleveland Clinic, the American Cancer Society and an organization that supports disaster relief said Thursday they were abandoning plans for fundraisers at the private club.

The cancellations follow the spectacular implosion of Trump's business councils this week over the president'sthat counter-protesters shared the blame for violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.



The collapse of the councils was an extraordinary rebuke to a president who prides himself on being business-friendly. High-profile CEOs like JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon have publicly slammed Trump's reaction to Charlottesville.

Now, Trump's words appear to be hurting his own business.

"We thank the staff of Mar-a-Lago for their service over the years," the Cleveland Clinic said in a statement. It did not give a reason for its cancellation -- the first time in eight years it will not hold the event at Mar-a-Lago. The announcement was reported earlier Thursday by the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Toby Cosgrove, the hospital group's CEO, was among the executives on one of Trump's business councils.

A few hours after the Cleveland Clinic's announcement, the American Cancer Society pulled out.

The nonprofit said in a statement that it had planned to host its 2018 gala at Mar-a-Lago "based on a variety of factors, including costs and venue requirements." But the organization said "it has become increasingly clear" that hosting its fundraiser on Trump-owned property presents a "challenge" to its values.

The American Cancer Society, which has hosted the annual event at Mar-a-Lago for at least the past decade -- has not selected another venue. The decision was reported earlier by the Palm Beach Post.

Mar-a-Lago declined to comment. The Trump Organization did not immediately respond to a message.

Trump retained an ownership interest in his business when he took office, which means he has a personal stake in Mar-a-Lago's success. As president, he has raised the club's profile by making repeated visits there.


The health organization last hosted its gala in Trump's Palm Beach club in February of this year. It coincided with a visit from Trump, who was in Florida the same weekend to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The American Friends of Magen David Adom, a group that supports Israel's national ambulance, blood-services and disaster-relief organization, confirmed that it, too, has decided to move its annual gala to another location.

"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.

The event was scheduled to take place at Mar-a-Lago on Feb. 25, 2018.

On Thursday, CNNMoney reached out to all the organizations that have announced plans to hold events at Mar-a-Lago in the coming months.

Only one other organization, Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, responded to CNNMoney's inquiries. That group confirmed it will host a wine auction at the club on Feb. 1.