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Trump’s company cancels gala planned by anti-Muslim group at Mar-a-Lago

Brigitte Gabriel, founder and President of ACT for America, speaks at the 2017 Values Voter Summit in Washington. (Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

An anti-Muslim group that had been planning a gala at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida said Monday that the Trump Organization had abruptly canceled the event.

The group, ACT for America, issued a statement saying Trump’s company had “caved to the Left’s bullying tactics” in canceling its Nov. 7 dinner gala. After Florida newspapers reported on the planned gala last weekend, the event was condemned by groups including the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“Regrettably, the Trump attorneys in New York caved to the Left’s bullying tactics and made a decision to cancel our event within hours,” ACT said in a statement posted to Twitter.

In the statement, ACT founder Brigitte Gabriel sought to blame the Trump Organization’s legal department — but not Trump, who still owns the company, or his sons, who now run it.

“While we are disappointed in the decision made by the Trump Organization’s attorneys, we do not blame President Trump or the Trump family,” Gabriel said. She said her group “will continue to stand with President Trump and support his fight for the soul of our country.”

The Trump Organization did not respond to requests for comment.

ACT was founded in 2007. Its leaders, who claim to have more than 1 million members, have labeled Islam a “cancer” and spread theories of a secret plot by Muslims, Democrats, communists and the media to destroy the country from within. They have sponsored lectures on how to monitor and oppose U.S. mosques.

Their event at Mar-a-Lago was advertised as a dinner gala featuring conservative speaker Michelle Malkin. Tickets began at $1,500, according to an archived version of the event website.

That event appeared to be an example of a long-term trend at Mar-a-Lago, the president’s social club, banquet hall and winter residence in Palm Beach, Fla. Trump’s divisive presidency has driven away many of his longtime banquet clients, including charities such as the American Red Cross.

In their place, Mar-a-Lago has attracted new clients — supporters of Trump’s politics: Republican fundraisers, gatherings of Trump superfans called “Trumpettes” and galas held by conservative Christian groups.

Still, Trump’s last financial disclosure showed that Mar-a-Lago’s income had fallen 10 percent in 2018.

It was unclear if ACT for America had organized events at Trump’s hotels before. In 2018, Gabriel was the guest of honor at an event put on by another group, the Virginia Women for Trump, at the president’s D.C. hotel, according to social media posts.

This is the second time in recent months that the Trump Organization has booked a major event at one of its clubs, only to cancel after a public outcry. The first was in July, when Trump’s Doral golf club canceled a planned golf tournament organized by a Miami-area strip club.