Donald Trump's presidential campaign often draws comparisons to the 1964 White House bid of Barry Goldwater — a conservative icon who clashed with the Republican establishment but galvanized grass-roots activists to secure the party's nomination, only to suffer a landslide loss in the general election.
Trump hopes to bask in the glow of the Goldwater legacy when he holds a fundraiser Saturday at the late Arizona senator's landmark estate in Paradise Valley — the same home, in a wealthy enclave of Phoenix, from which Goldwater launched his presidential campaign a half-century ago.
But one important person is queasy about Trump's plans to campaign there: Goldwater's widow.
“Ugh or yuck is my response," Susan Goldwater Levine said Thursday night when called by a reporter. "I think Barry would be appalled that his home was being used for that purpose. Barry would be appalled by Mr. Trump’s behavior — the unintelligent and unfiltered and crude communications style. And he’s shallow — so, so shallow.”
Goldwater built the ranch-style home in 1957 and named it "Be-nun-i-kin," which is Navajo for "house on top of a hill." It is known for its sweeping views. The property is no longer owned by the Goldwater family. Two years after Barry Goldwater's 1998 death, his family sold the home to Robert and Karen Hobbs, area business and civic leaders.
Reached Thursday night, Robert Hobbs said the Trump campaign asked him if he would host the fundraiser at the old Goldwater home. He said he does not know Trump but agreed to host the event out of loyalty to the Republican Party.
“Barry was a good, solid Republican and was conservative," Hobbs said. "I’m not sure that Donald Trump is conservative, but he’s who our nominee is.”
Asked to respond to Levine's criticisms, Hobbs suggested that her opinion was less important because she was Goldwater's second wife. Goldwater remarried after his first wife, Margaret, passed away.
“She was his second wife; she’s not his first wife," Hobbs said. "So she came along later in life.... She’s entitled to her opinion, but Barry was a Republican and Donald Trump’s a Republican, and we’re going to support whoever the Republican nominee is."
A Trump campaign spokesman did not respond to a request for comment about the fundraiser and about Levine's comments.
Former Arizona governor Jan Brewer and State Treasurer Jeff DeWit are among the Arizona Republican luminaries expected to attend Saturday's event, which will take place before Trump addresses what is expected to be a large public rally at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix.
The fundraiser is expected to draw about 75 donors, and ticket prices start at $2,700, according to the Arizona Republic. The newspaper reported that photos with Trump will cost $10,000, while members of the host committee must pay $25,000. The proceeds go to "Trump Victory," the joint fundraising committee of the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and many state parties.
Levine said she finds Trump's candidacy "crazy and inappropriate" and a striking contrast to the political career of her late husband, whom she said acted in public life as "a genuine humanist and a straight-talking but fair-thinking gentleman."
"I can't believe we are doing this as a country," she said of Trump's candidacy. "Barry was so true to his convictions and would never be issuing these shallow, crude, accusatory criticisms of the other party or the other person."
Asked what the late senator would think of Trump as the Republican Party's nominee, Levine said: "Barry would be appalled and ashamed. He held the office in high regard."
She added, "No matter how he was feeling, he would conduct himself with dignity and pride — because as the candidate or as the president, it’s required.”
This is not the first time Levine — or other members of the Goldwater family — have spoken out against Trump. In March, Barry Goldwater Jr., the senator's son who grew up to enter the family business and become a Republican congressman from California, called Trump "an authoritarian" and "a cowboy."
“I don’t think there’s any comparison at all with Barry Goldwater,” he told MSNBC's Tony Dokoupil. “Donald Trump is an authoritarian. Barry Goldwater had principles, and he was a gentleman. Donald Trump is a cowboy.”