Cleveland Clinic cancels fundraising gala at Mar-a-Lago

The Cleveland Clinic won't hold its annual fundraiser at Trump's Mar-a Lago estate, it said on Thursday. It comes after the clinic was pressured to cut ties following Trump's stance on healthcare policies and his Charlottesville remarks

The Cleveland Clinic and the American Cancer Society are abandoning plans to hold fundraisers at President Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.

"After careful consideration, Cleveland Clinic has decided that it will not hold a Florida fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago in 2018", the hospital system said in a statement to media outlets.

The Cleveland Clinic's Mar-a-Lago event has raised $700,000 to $1million annually to expand programs and purchase equipment for the hospital's Florida facility. It did not give a reason for its cancellation. That's more than double the club's 2015 filings of $15.6 million.

The rapid rejections of one of the president's signature businesses revealed a possible financial vulnerability for Trump, who has been fiercely criticized this week for equating the actions of white supremacists and neo-Nazis with protesters during a violent weekend in Charlottesville.

The White House referred questions to the Trump Organization, which did not immediately respond.

Sheil told HuffPost there were "a variety of reasons" the clinic chose to drop Mar-a-Lago, but wouldn't elaborate much further.

The hospital folded to pressure when it announced it would end an eight-year streak and pull out of its yearly fundraiser held at Trump's luxury venue, the clinic said on Thursday. "But right is right", she added in an interview with The Post.

"Our values and commitment to diversity are critical as we work to address the impact of cancer in every community", the group said in a statement to the Post. But the organization said "it has become increasingly clear" that hosting its fundraiser on Trump-owned property presents a "challenge" to its values.

Both health-related groups faced growing pressure to reconsider their support of the president's business amid Trump controversies.

"We thank the staff of Mar-a-Lago for their service over the years", the Cleveland Clinic said in a statement.

Laurel Baker, executive director of the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce, said in an email that "each organization should examine their mission statements to ensure that any fundraising efforts are not compromising their efforts".

A few hours after the Cleveland Clinic's announcement, the American Cancer Society followed suit.

Holding the fundraiser there "symbolically and financially supports a politician actively working to decrease access to healthcare and cut billions of dollars in research funding from the National Institutes of Health budget", read the letter, which was posted on Medium.

The clinic's chief executive, Toby Cosgrove, was among the business leaders on the president's Strategic and Policy Forum who agreed to disband Wednesday.

On Monday, Kenneth Fraizer, CEO of Merck & Co., stepped down from Trump's American Manufacturing Council.

The Kravis Center said it plans to keep its annual wine auction at the Mar-a-Lago.

The ACS said in a statement Thursday that it had initially chosen Mar-a-Lago as the venue for its 2018 Island of Palm Beach gala "based on a variety of factors, including costs and venue requirements".

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