6:22pm PT by Chris Gardner
Inside the Hamptons Fundraisers That Netted Trump $12M for Re-election
The numbers are in and President Donald Trump's quick trip to the Hamptons on Friday raked in $12 million for his re-election campaign as his Republican allies were quick to declare it a win despite the wave of protests and controversy swirling around his Southampton host.
"Thanks to the unhinged mob on the left, @realDonaldTrump raised $12M today, $2M more than originally expected," tweeted Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel at approximately 4 p.m. ET. "The support for our President is unprecedented and growing!"
Trump appeared at two Hamptons fundraisers organized by Trump Victory — a joint effort by his campaign and the Republican National Committee — one at the Bridgehampton estate of Joe Farrell and another at the Southampton home of billionaire real estate developer Stephen Ross. The latter proved to be the pricier affair, with tickets going for $100,000 (for photo and lunch) or $250,000 (for roundtable, photo and lunch), but it also ended up being the most controversial.
After word spread of the Ross-hosted fundraiser, Trump critics called for boycotts of businesses in his Related Companies portfolio including the popular Equinox and Soul Cycle. According to numerous social media posts, celebrities and industry insiders were canceling their memberships in droves late in the week with many reporting that Equinox staffers were "overwhelmed" by the calls and emails. The Hollywood Reporter reached out to a rep for Equinox, but even their inboxes were slammed. Multiple emails bounced back, citing storage capacity errors.
Back in the Hamptons, however, Trump greeted his supporters with handshakes, jokes and political barbs. A source inside the Farrell fundraiser told THR that guests were required to arrive by 12:30 p.m. and surrender phones and any electronic devices. Trump did not address the lunch crowd until 3:30 p.m., at which point he delivered a 30-minute speech. The president boasted that he was making other countries "step up" and pay their fair share. He claimed to be hated by China as well as Iran, while counting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a friend. The declaration came just hours after he revealed that he received a "beautiful" letter from the dictator.
Attendees included ousted Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly; Geraldo Rivera; major names from the New York real estate development community; McDaniel; RNC co-chairman Tommy Hicks Jr.; Trump Victory finance chairman Todd Ricketts; campaign manager Brad Parscale; Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC); Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY); Kimberly Guilfoyle; and the president's son, Donald Trump Jr. The New York Post, which published a detailed account of Trump's remarks, reported that Jonathan Farkas; Steve Mnuchin; Wilbur Ross and wife Hilary Geary Ross; Rory Tahari; Joe Piscopo; Rudy Giuliani; Andrew Giuliani; Phil Falcone and wife Lisa Maria; Jean Shafiroff; and Neal Sroka were also in attendance.
In all, 500 people were expected to pass through Farrell's doors Friday. Guests dined on a buffet lunch of sirloin steak, shrimp with lemon chili and charred broccoli. Per the source, some guests hung out at Farrell's estate for an afterparty, the same estate known to locals as the Sandcastle, which previously was rented by Madonna, Beyoncé and Jay Z.
On the streets surrounding both fundraisers, Trump was met with crowds of both protestors and supporters. Some held signs that read "Dump Trump" or "Bernie 2020," while others hoisted messages of support like "We Love Trump."
On Friday afternoon in West Hollywood, close to 40 activists gathered in front of an Equinox outpost on Sunset Boulevard to protest owner Ross' involvement in the Trump fundraiser. "Equi-Not!" read one of the signs at the event, which was organized by LGBTQ activists Gonzalo Garcia and Adam G. Bass.
Though much of the activity on social media has been directed at Equinox, some Soul Cycle locations reported it hasn't quite been business as usual this week. A source told THR that at an East Hampton Soul Cycle location, security guards were stationed next to the check-in desk to help prevent any tense situations with politically charged riders.
As for Trump, after drumming up the $12 million, he boarded Air Force One for a quick trip to Morristown, New Jersey, en route to a 10-day stay at his club in nearby Bedminster.