An annual triathlon at Trump National Golf Club, Charlotte in Mooresville that since 2014 had incorporated the Trump name in the title of its event - and had once before weathered controversy because of it - has been permanently canceled, its founder and race director told the Observer Wednesday.
Chuck McAllister also announced on the Tri at the Trump's Facebook page that he was retiring the event.
"It is with the greatest of sadness that I announce that the Tri @ the Trump is canceled," he wrote. "I hope that this country gets over its self [sic] and that sometime in the future there will be peace and harmony."
McAllister, 56, an executive at a global shoe-box manufacturing company, told the Observer the decision was being made because of a wave of backlash related to the race being associated with and held at the Trump-owned club.
The event, which typically has welcomed several hundred participants, was scheduled for Oct. 8.
McAllister said he had heard from past participants and others who were planning to boycott the event, and planning to discourage others from participating. He also said individuals who worked for beneficiaries and sponsors of the race had informed him that they had received similar correspondence from people.
In addition, he said, the owner of the event management company that had produced and timed the event since its inception in 2014 told him Tuesday night that they had decided not to be involved anymore, for similar reasons.
"It was just too out of hand," McAllister said of what led to the cancellation. "Too much unrest, too much negativity, too many bad comments, too many people threatening. It's just unfortunate. But this time, it had to be done. I mean, I was hoping that I could (keep it alive) but you know what, I've got to stand up at some point in time and just say enough's enough."
The Tri at the Trump has been held every year since 2014 except for in 2017, when a chain of events led to that year's race being canceled.
At first, citing politically motivated backlash and a marked drop in registrations over the previous year, he opted for a name change: from Tri at the Trump to Tri for Good. But that ended up creating even greater polarization - people who were anti-Trump couldn't ignore the fact that the event was still being held on Trump property, and people who felt favorably toward Trump lambasted the decision as caving to the left.
A few days later, McAllister announced he was canceling that year's race, not wanting the event to become even more politicized. "The best way to avoid a situation is to not create one at all," McAllister told the Observer at the time.
Tri at the Trump returned in 2018 with its original name. It was last held in October 2019, having been canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19.
The race, which was a sprint triathlon featuring a 750-meter swim, 13.25-mile bike ride and 5-kilometer run, benefited cancer-related charities including the Isabella Santos Foundation and Novant Health's Hemby Children's Hospital.
Though McAllister has been supportive of President Donald Trump - in the summer of 2016, he co-hosted a fundraiser at the Mooresville club, raising more than $1.4 million for the then-presidential candidate's successful campaign - he says he has always kept politics out of the event.
"The only reason it's ever been called Tri at the Trump is because that's the venue that's been given to me free of charge for seven years," he said. "And it's a great venue. ..."
"I mean, maybe you didn't like him, maybe you thought he did all the wrong things. And that's fine. I respect that wholeheartedly. But to bring it to this level and just the things that don't have any bearing on all this other (stuff) has just gotten to the point where it's just - it's sad. It's just downright sad. ... Who even knows if there's gonna be a Trump National Golf Club here next year? I mean, I'm serious. The way they're shutting everything down on the Trump family, the kids and the grandkids."
McAllister was referring to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's announcement on Wednesday that the city will terminate business contracts with President Trump in the wake of last week's insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Earlier this week, the organizers of the PGA Championship canceled plans to hold its event at Trump's Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club next year, for the same reason.
"It's become clear that conducting the PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster would be detrimental to the PGA of America brand and would put at risk the PGA's ability to deliver our many programs and sustain the longevity of our mission," Jim Richerson, PGA of America's president, said in a video posted to the organization's website.
According to McAllister, Tri at the Trump "raised well over a half a million dollars over six years" for charities focused on supporting children with cancer and their families.