Anti-Muslim Group, ACT for America, to Host Gala at Mar-a-Lago




  • In Politics
  • 2019-10-06 15:50:56Z
  • By The New York Times
Mar a Lago
Mar a Lago  

An anti-Muslim organization plans to host its annual gala at Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump's private club in Palm Beach, Florida, in November.

ACT for America claims to be the nation's largest grassroots national security organization, and is considered the largest anti-Muslim group in the United States, according to the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks such groups.

Michelle Malkin, a conservative columnist, author and television commentator, will be the keynote speaker, according to an invitation posted on the organization's website. Standard tickets are $1,500 per person and premium tickets, which put attendees at the head tables, are $2,500. Premium tickets are sold out, according to the website.

"I don't think it should occur," said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization. "It's really a violation of the U.S. Constitution to funnel funds from a hate group directly to the president and his business," he said, referring to the emoluments clauses of the Constitution.

The domestic clause, also known as the anti-corruption clause, establishes that the president's salary remain constant throughout his term and ensures that he not accept any additional sum. A federal appeals court revived an emoluments case against Trump in September, accusing him of illegally profiting from his hotels and restaurants.

In 2018, Trump made $22.7 million from Mar-a-Lago, The Miami Herald reported, citing a financial disclosure form filed with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.

The Mar-a-Lago estate, the 118-room, Mediterranean-style resort frequently visited by the president, was built 90 years ago by cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post. If sold out, the gala could bring in more than $1 million in revenue, according to the Herald.

Malkin responded to the Herald's reporting in a tweet Saturday. "The smear merchants of CAIR & SPLC have ruthlessly attacked patriots of all colors who expose the dangers of radical Islam and open borders," she wrote.

ACT for America and the White House did not respond to calls for comment Saturday.

In an email Sunday, a spokeswoman for the Trump Organization said, without elaboration, "This event will absolutely not be taking place at Mar-a-Lago." She did not respond to additional questions.

Brigitte Gabriel, who uses a pseudonym, founded ACT for America in 2007 and has said: "America has been infiltrated on all levels by radicals who wish to harm America. They have infiltrated us at the CIA, at the FBI, at the Pentagon, at the State Department. They are being radicalized in radical mosques in our cities and communities within the United States."

The organization aims to protect the safety and security of Americans against foreign and domestic threats, according to its website.

In 2017, the group organized the "March Against Sharia," a nationwide protest attended by far-right and white supremacist groups in about two dozen cities. That year, Marriott International faced criticism for hosting ACT for America's annual conference in Arlington, Virginia.

"We have a president that likes us, President Trump," she said at the group's 2018 conference in Washington, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Gabriel also said she had a standing meeting at the White House once a week.

"It's become crystal clear that when someone wants to influence Donald Trump, all you have to do is rent rooms at his resorts or at his golf courses and do something that provides him with funds," Hooper said. "This hate group got the message."

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