Trump raises $10 million at private dinner in Palm Beach
In a rare fundraiser outside the walls of Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump dined with a small group of elite donors at the oceanfront estate of billionaire investor Nelson Peltz on Saturday night.
The dinner was expected to raise $10 million for Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee with the Republican National Committee, according to a GOP insider who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Trump and Peltz have been friends for over 20 years and Trump was known to stop by Peltz’s home, several miles north of Mar-a-Lago, for lunch before Trump was president, according to a Palm Beach resident who knows both men.
Palm Beachers expected to attend the dinner included Pepe Fanjul, president of Florida Crystals, and Ike Perlmutter, chairman and former CEO of Marvel Entertainment. Other political notables include RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, Tommy Hicks, Jr., co-chairman of the RNC and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law.
Saturday evening’s dinner with about twenty couples marked a significant change in how Trump has raised money in Palm Beach. Unlike other candidates, who hold fundraisers in the homes of wealthy donors, Trump has opted to hold his fundraisers at Mar-a-Lago.
There was concern that high-profile business owners would shy away from hosting a fundraiser for Trump after customers of Equinox Fitness and SoulCycle called for a boycott when billionaire Palm Beacher Stephen Ross hosted a fundraiser for Trump at his home in the Hamptons in August. Ross, owner of the Miami Dolphins, is chairman of the company that owns Equinox Fitness, an upmarket gym chain, and SoulCycle.
“If anything, I would say it was extremely competitive to get POTUS to do a private fundraiser in town,” said Blair Brandt, a Palm Beach resident and GOP fundraiser who worked with Lara Trump to end greyhound racing in Florida in 2019. “There was a long line out the door and around the corner of high-profile supporters who really wanted to host this event on the island.”
In January, Palm Beach billionaire Bill Koch hosted Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, for an intimate cocktail and dinner party attended by about 40 high-profile donors. Trump, who has made 30 visits to Palm Beach as president, has hosted nearly a dozen fundraisers at Mar-a-Lago during the winter months.
With two months to go in the season, Trump may attend another fundraiser in the home of a wealthy donor, according to the GOP insider.
Trump’s next fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago is scheduled for March 8 — his third in 2020 — and is expected to rake in several million more. A donor telethon attended by Trump’s sons, Don Jr. and Eric, at Mar-a-Lago on Feb. 7 raised $25 million. First lady Melania Trump is expected to raise millions more at a fundraiser she will host at Mar-a-Lago on March 25.
By Easter, near the end of the social season in Palm Beach, the Trumps could well have raised over $40 million.
“I would say that’s pretty incredible momentum an local support for the president’s agenda,” Brandt said.