Is Mar-a-Lago the Tammany Hall of Today's Republican Party?Historians in the News
tags: Republican Party, Donald Trump, Mar-a-Lago
As his guests sampled short ribs and chocolate cake at a Dec. 1 reception held in Mar-a-Lago’s gilded ballroom and others mingled at another event held by the pool, U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker of Georgia raised more than $1 million for his campaign and an allied super PAC.
The following evening, Donald Trump dined at his private Florida club with about 20 couples, each of whom paid $250,000 to the Make America Great Again Again super PAC, a group run by close allies of the former president.
Two days later, Turning Point USA, a conservative group for young Americans, held a sprawling event at Mar-a-Lago, where organizers said Trump’s presence was the key to attracting 750 guests.
Since Trump returned from his New Jersey club to Palm Beach, Fla., this fall, Mar-a-Lago has become a hotbed for Republican fundraisers, with candidates jockeying to line the former president’s pockets in hopes of winning his endorsement, get a photo with him or simply give donors a chance to be in his presence.
Julian Zelizer, a presidential historian at Princeton University, said the rush of paid GOP events at Trump’s club is “indicative of how powerful of a hold he has on the party.”
Zelizer noted that while other former presidents have given paid speeches or taken seats on lucrative boards, they did not rent property to candidates while serving as GOP kingmaker and contemplating another White House run.
“It‘s like a party boss, with one of his homes being the place for wheeling and dealing and picking the next Senate candidate,” Zelizer said.
Taylor Budowich, a Trump spokesman, said the former president’s properties — including his Bedminster club in New Jersey — are sought after by those running for office on the right.
“When it comes to raising money for Republican causes and candidates, there are only two seasons that matter: Bedminster season and Mar-a-Lago season. Through the dozens of fundraisers that will be held at Mar-a-Lago this season, the Trump property and Trump brand will continue to fuel the MAGA wave ahead of the midterms,” he said.
The Trump Organization did not respond to a request for comment.
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