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Donald Trump is set to kick off a major fundraising effort with a dinner scheduled May 25 at the Los Angeles home of a business associate, insiders confirmed Wednesday to The Hollywood Reporter.
The Washington Post first reported the scheduled event at the home of Thomas Barrack Jr., a real estate tycoon who endorsed Trump two months ago. The Post says the dinner party, which will include cocktails and a photo line, is the first of about 50 similar events designed to raise $1 billion for the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.
Barrack founded Colony Capital and in the 1980s was deputy undersecretary at the Interior Department in President Ronald Reagan’s administration.
When endorsing him in April, Barrack told The Wall Street Journal that Trump reminded him of Reagan, mostly because they were both Republican party outsiders.
“When Ronald Reagan ran, he was a cowboy, an actor from California. People said this was a joke,” Barrack told The Journal.
Trump has largely been financing his own campaign, to the tune of more than $40 million, some of it in the form of loans from himself that theoretically could flow back to him, but he ostensibly announced his intention to get serious about raising money when he appointed Steven Mnuchin as his finance chair last week.
Mnuchin, the chairman of Dune Entertainment Partners, was a controversial pick for Trump because he has donated more money to Democrats than he has to Republicans, including to Hillary Clinton, who Trump will probably compete against in the general election for president. Mnuchin also is a former business partner of billionaire investor George Soros, who is spending millions to defeat Trump.
It’s not known yet which Hollywood celebrities, if any, will attend the event at Barrack’s home. Some entertainment-industry conservatives have endorsed Trump — the highest-profile among them being Jon Voight — while others are struggling to support him because of liberal tendencies in his past and aggressive demeanor.
In fact, at the end of the month there also is an anti-Trump event planned that some in Hollywood are set to attend, though it was planned before Ted Cruz and John Kasich bowed out of the race and made Trump the presumptive nominee, so organizers may cancel.
As of Wednesday, Trump had raised just $51 million for his candidacy, including via political action committees supporting him, compared to $256 million for Clinton and $183 million for Bernie Sanders, the two remaining Democrats in the race.
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