UPDATED Aug. 22, 2017: Another charity announced Tuesday it was nixing plans to hold a fundraiser at President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago property in Florida next winter, adding to a growing list of charities who have pulled support from Trump businesses following his comments on the fatal Charlottesville protests.
The Unicorn Children's Foundation, based in Boca Raton, is the 17th charity to drop an event this week. Explaining the decision in a statement, the company said, “We are not a political organization and do not condone hatred or bullying on any level.”
“Due to the political turbulence associated with this choice of venue it would be a disservice to our supporters and our children to hold our event at Mar-a-Lago,” said Sharon Alexander, the group's chief executive, in the statement provided to The Washington Post. “We prefer the conversations to be centered off the venue and instead focused on how we can help kids with special needs excel in their communities.”
The foundation is opting to cancel is fundraiser altogether. It won't lose any money, as it had yet to put down a deposit to secure the location, but Alexanders said the charity would likely losing out on some $160,000 without the fundraising event.
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“At this time, we are exploring options to address this $160,000 shortfall or we will need to cut funding support from several critical programs and services,” she said.
Originally published Aug. 21, 2017: President Donald Trump’s businesses are the latest casualty in the fallout over controversial statements the president made after white supremacists incited violence during a protest in Charlottesville, Virginia last week.
More than a dozen organizations have pulled events like fundraisers, galas and annual balls from Trump resorts, like his water-front Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida and The Washington Post estimates the resort could lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue as a result.
The Palm Beach Zoo and MorseLife, a senior care agency, are the latest to join the growing list of companies to announce a change of venue — many pulled out within the last week, according to a report by the Palm Beach Post.
"We have an unyielding commitment to inspire people to act on behalf of wildlife and the natural world," said Andrew Aiken, Palm Beach Zoo CEO and president, in a statement. "After thoughtful consideration by Zoo leadership, we have decided it is important that we not allow distractions to deter us from our mission and culture."
MorseLife made the decision not to hold its annual luncheon at the club for the first time in a decade, but offered no reason for the move, according to the Post.
Organizations like the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, American Cancer Society and the Cleveland Clinic also pulled their events from the venue this week after Trump appeared to defend people who marched alongside white supremacists in the Charlottesville rally.
Tensions between white nationalist demonstrators who were protesting the removal of a statue of Confederate general and notorious slave owner Robert E. Lee and anti-racist counter-protesters were high. Heather Heyer, 32, of Charlottesville died when a white supremacist rammed his car into a group of the counterprotesters. Two Virginia state troopers also died when a helicopter they were riding in crashed while assisting police in patrol efforts.
Immediately following the deaths, Trump condemned violence “on many sides,” a response that earned him widespread criticism from his own party, business leaders and the public. Two days later Trump appeared to dial back his comments and condemned neo-Nazis, the KKK and white supremacists by name.
The condemnation was short-lived, however. By Tuesday Trump held a third press conference, this time calling some of the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville “very fine people.”
The comments also prompted resignations for nearly every member of Trump’s Business Advisory Councils and the pair of councils were disbanded by Wednesday afternoon. The entire committee on Arts and Humanities also resigned.
Letter announcing resignations from the President's Committee on Arts & the Humanities pic.twitter.com/km3XJeXRl0— Dave Brown (@dave_brown24) August 18, 2017