Normally the office of the Presidency is one that, if only to a nominal degree, has some element of transcendence beyond ideology and partisan picket lines, at least as it pertains to certain events on the Presidential schedule, such as the annual Kennedy Center Honors, the White House Correspondent’s Dinner and throwing out the first pitch at the home opener of the Washington Nationals.
But this presidency is, as everyone has observed, pro or con – not normal by any measurement. Donald Trump has a problem – actually a dilemma. It followed him during the entire run of the campaign and through the election into the White House.
His problem? It is that he has ginned up his reality TV antics, animating the angst, fury and resentment of his voters to the extent that he can’t ratchet it down now without being abandoned by even a small percentage of the base that is keeping his approval ratings from falling completely into the abyss.
But while he continues to dog whistle to the petulant racists and nativists – on the other side, those individuals and organizations that traditionally tend to look beyond the party divisions as they pertain to the Presidency, are not any longer able or willing to do so. And it is having an impact on Donald Trump’s most vital economic asset – his brand, the Trump Organization.
Trump derives significant income from the use of his properties, such as the various golf resorts and Mar A Lago, hosting galas, receptions, corporate meetings and charitable events.
Fire News Feed describes the nature of these festivities:
These are the most important events of Palm Beach’s traditional winter “season,” when wealthy people from colder climes gather for five months of gala balls, golf, croquet lessons, sequins and pastel fabrics.
Some of the biggest charity galas can attract 600 people or more, and raise more than $1.5 million in an evening.
His intransigence in catering to the most deplorable of the deplorables has reached the breaking point for these customary clients.
Last week, the following organizations canceled their scheduled events at Trump’s properties:
- Salvation Army
- American Red Cross
- American Friends of Magen David Adom (Israeli Red Cross)
- Morse Life
- Susan G.Komen Cancer Foundation
- American Cancer Society
- The Cleveland Clinic
- The Palm Beach Zoo
One non-profit, the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach, pulled its booking for a fund raising dance they had scheduled for March of next year. That event, by some estimates, represented potential receipts for Trump, of as much as a quarter million dollars. The American Red Cross issued a statement reading:
“The American Red Cross has decided we cannot host our annual fundraising event at Mar-a-Lago, as it has increasingly become a source of controversy and pain for many of our volunteers, employees and supporters.”
And the Palm Beach Post reports that another organization, the Palm Beach Habilitation Center, will hold an executive board meeting to determine whether they will cancel all future events at Trump’s club. The Unicorn Children’s Foundation reportedly is reconsidering their scheduled gala as well. As of this morning, the Raymond F. Kravis Center of the Performing Arts has also changed plans and will hold their “Palm Beach Wine Auction” at their own facility.
The above, are just a handful of notables that are regular on the Mar A Lago client list, but as of this report, 15 orgs have pulled the plug on Trump’s resort as a gathering place.
One cancellation hit a little closer to home for Trump. Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump was a designated co-chair for the “Big Dog Ranch Rescue”, which announced Friday that it would be moving its get together to its own facility in Loxahatchee.
Trump’s conduct unbecoming, is taking a toll at his other properties as well. Bookings are down and some have been losing business even beginning with the primary campaigns.
There is an interesting dynamic to all of this. Ordinarily, the Trump properties serve a similar function for him that the Clinton Foundation served for Hillary Clinton – a means for individuals and groups that desire an avenue through which to purchase influence with a sitting president, (or in Clinton’s case, a potential president).
To put it in shorthand, Mar A Lago and Trump’s other properties, are a political money laundering facility for special interests. By creating a toxic atmosphere around himself, Trump has made his properties, no go zones, where there is no plausible deniability for these individuals and groups.
The hits keep on coming. The Washington Post reports that three of the five honorees of this year’s Lincoln Center Honors awards— television producer Norman Lear, singer Lionel Richie and dancer Carmen de Lavallade — said they would boycott the traditional reception. As a consequence, Trump issued a statement saying that he and the First Lady would not be attending for the stated reason that he did not want to be a political distraction to the event.
Also on Friday the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities resigned en masse, telling the president in an open letter that:
“Ignoring your hateful rhetoric would have made us complicit in your words and actions. Supremacy, discrimination, and vitriol are not American values. Your values are not American values. We must be better than this. We are better than this. If this is not clear to you, then we call on you to resign your office, too.”
[Editor’s Note: Since publication – another charity – Gateway For Cancer Research, has canceled their events at Mar A Lago]
Trump chafes at this turn of affairs because circulating as a society potentate has always been a personal point of pride with him. Hobnobbing with A-listers and the upper crust, has assuaged his inner complex of unfashionable Queens origins. For Trump, most of the job perks, besides being able to capitalize on the influence of the presidency for his business interests, has been the prestige of the office.
Either unwittingly, or out of perceived necessity to stay in character with the grotesque persona he has created to entertain his political following, Trump, it seems, has wrung every drop of prestige out of the office he presently holds.