A Florida hospital's foundation said Thursday that it had canceled plans to hold a fundraiser luncheon at President Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club this November, becoming the 18th charity to cut ties with the club after Trump's comments on the violent protests in Charlottesville.
The Bethesda Hospital Foundation will move its Nov. 9 “Women of Grace” event from Mar-a-Lago to the Boca Raton Resort and Club, located about 28 miles south down the Florida coast, said spokeswoman Paula Henderson. “We did change the venue. It just took a long time because we had a lot of people to meet with,” Henderson said in a brief phone interview.
When asked why the foundation moved its event from Mar-a-Lago, Henderson deferred that question to another foundation spokesman, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Bethesda Hospital Foundation, which supports a medical center in Boynton Beach, Fla., had previously held its luncheon at Mar-a-Lago for four years running. The luncheon was one of the largest at Mar-a-Lago, with about 500 people in attendance.
It had also been one of the most lucrative for Trump's club: In 2015, the charity spent $10,000 on rent and facility costs, and $85,000 on food and beverages, according to IRS documents. Other luncheons at Mar-a-Lago brought in lower figures, between $25,000 and $40,000.
Previously, 12 other charities had pulled out of plans to hold nighttime galas or dinner events at Mar-a-Lago, and five others had canceled plans for luncheons.
Those cancellations have erased the bulk of the outside social events on Mar-a-Lago's calendar for next winter's social “season” in Palm Beach. At the moment, just three galas remain on the schedule, in addition to a luncheon, a charity brunch and a lecture put on by a Palm Beach nonprofit.
It's difficult to determine how much revenue Trump's club will lose because of these cancellations, since some of the charities have already paid deposits to Trump's club. But, taken together, it appears that the canceled events represented more than $1.7 million in revenue for the club. In recent years, Mar-a-Lago has reported profits between $3.9 million and $9 million, according to figures that the club filed in a Florida court case.
All 18 of these cancellations have come after last week's comments by the president, who said there were “fine people” among those protesting to keep a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on display in Charlottesville. The crowd also included neo-Nazis and white supremacists, and a member of that group is now accused of murder after allegedly crashing his car into a crowd of counterprotesters.