Donald Trump raked in $12 million on a fund-raising swing through the Hamptons on Friday, a visit that’s spurred threats of boycotts and employee complaints against high-dollar donors for supporting a leader many Democrats say is racist.
The president left the events on eastern Long Island, each closed to the media, for his New Jersey golf course with $2 million more than the organizers anticipated.
One of the fund-raisers was held by Stephen Ross, a real estate developer who owns Related Cos LP, stakes in upscale fitness facilities and the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. Celebrities and social media users threatened to cancel their memberships to Equinox Fitness Club and its indoor-cycling subsidiary SoulCycle after Ross agreed to host a fund-raiser for Trump at his Southampton home.
Prominent investment and real estate executives were invited to Ross’s fund-raiser, according to names provided by a person familiar with planning for the event, and they too may find themselves facing a backlash.
People invited to the Ross fund-raiser included the two adult children of John Catsimatidis, owner of the Manhattan grocery chain Gristedes Foods Inc.; and Ronald Lauder, an Estée Lauder Companies Inc. heir who’s president of the World Jewish Congress, according to a person familiar with the invitations.
The invitation to John Catsimatidis Jr. and Andrea Catsimatidis comes after their father — a prolific donor to both Republican and Democratic campaigns who served as a member of Hillary Clinton’s finance team during her unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign -- publicly declined former Vice President Joe Biden’s request for fund-raising assistance earlier this year, saying he would continue to support the president.
Other invitees include K2 Advisers co-founder William Douglass, General Atlantic LLC chief executive Bill Ford, New York real estate developer Richard LeFrak, Harbor Group chief executive Michael Liebowitz, Cantor Fitzgerald chief executive Howard Lutnick, and cryptocurrency entrepreneur — and former “Mighty Ducks” child actor — Brock Pierce, according to the person familiar with the invitations.
Liebowitz confirmed he would attend. Other invitees didn’t immediately respond to calls and messages left at their offices or with representatives. Tickets to the event ranged from $100,000 for lunch and a photo with the president, to $250,000 for a package that also included a roundtable discussion with Trump.
Trump held a second Hamptons fund-raiser at the “Sandcastle” mansion owned by developer Joe Farrell, which celebrities including Justin Bieber and Madonna have rented for summer vacations.
Tickets to that event — hosted by the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., his girlfriend and former Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle, and New York Representative Lee Zeldin — ranged from $2,800 to $250,000, according to an invitation obtained by Bloomberg. Zeldin greeted Trump as he stopped off Air Force One.
The Sandcastle property has become a familiar spot for high-profile Republican events and played host to the 75th birthday party for former New York mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani earlier this year. The 17,000-square-foot property has 11 bedrooms, 17 bathrooms, a baseball field, a bowling alley, a DJ booth and recording studio, a skateboard halfpipe, a tree house, a yoga studio and a 60-foot-long pool with an underwater sound system, according to the New York Post.
Farrell, a member of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, told the tabloid that the home rents for as much as $1 million per month in the summer and has been booked for five straight years. Jay-Z and Beyoncé, who rented the mansion in the summer of 2012, paid $400,000 for their rental.
Those shelling out for the most expensive tickets offered to Friday’s event would have received two photos with the president, eight tickets to a reception that Trump is attending, and access to a “VIP After-Party.”
The high-dollar events benefit a joint fund-raising committee for the president’s re-election campaign and the RNC. The president has sought to tap a network of high-dollar Republican donors that largely shied away from his first campaign. Trump also seeks to extend an immense cash advantage over Democrats, who’ve struggled to match Republican fund-raising efforts that have been under way since the president’s inauguration.
The president’s re-election campaign raised $56.7 million in the past quarter alone, while the RNC banked $51 million during that period. The Trump campaign and the joint fund-raising committees have $80 million cash on hand and the RNC has $43 million in the bank, according to the campaign.
Democratic primary contenders collectively raised $131.6 million in the same quarter, but no individual candidate topped $25 million. The 22 Democratic campaigns active in the second quarter reported a combined $140 million in the bank at the end of June. Most of that money was raised for the primaries, not the general election.