Former US President Donald Trump delivers remarks during an event following his impeachment over classified documents at the Trump National Golf Club, in Bedminster, New Jersey, US, on June 13, 2023.
Amr Alfika | Reuters
Former President Donald Trump met privately with more than two dozen major donors and supporters Tuesday night as he sought to rally wealthy donors and supporters to his cause hours after he was indicted on more than three dozen federal crimes.
Trump hosted the group, as well as aides, for a “candlelight dinner” at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey. To sit down to the meal, supporters had to raise or donate $100,000 for his 2024 White House bid, according to invitations to the event.
Trump’s brief remarks to the group echoed a speech he gave outside the clubhouse that evening. He opposed the federal indictment accused him of deliberately withholding numerous documents that contained some of the nation’s most sensitive military secrets, according to people familiar with the private comments.
Trump just returned to his golf course after being accused and guilty pleas in federal court in Miami. Trump ally Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., also attended the dinner, said the people, who declined to be named because they were discussing a private event. Tuberville came to Bedminster ahead of Trump’s public address. A spokesman for Tuberville did not respond to a request for comment.
Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., speaks during a televised interview before former President Donald Trump speaks at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., Tuesday, June 13, 2023, after pleading guilty in a Miami courtroom earlier in the day innocent. to dozens of criminal charges that he hoarded classified documents and refused government demands to return them.
Ondřej Harník | AP
Donors munched on some of Trump’s favorite foods, including crab cakes and hamburgers, while sipping wine and cocktails, according to one attendee.
Trump, who turned 77 on Wednesday, is the clear front-runner in the 2024 Republican primary.
A small group of wealthy donors who met with Trump spoke after meeting the former president and said they would double their support. Their continued loyalty could help him raise millions as he battles GOP rivals and numerous legal challenges. In April, he pleaded not guilty to state charges in New York and faces two other criminal charges, including an election tampering investigation in Georgia.
The event raised more than $2 million, the Trump campaign confirmed to CNBC. The collection was officially scheduled before Trump was indicted on federal charges.
“Voters, donors and activists are energized to send President Trump back to the White House,” Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said in a statement to CNBC.
People react as former US President Donald Trump delivers remarks following his impeachment over classified documents at the Trump National Golf Club, in Bedminster, New Jersey, US, on June 13, 2023.
Amr Alfika | Reuters
While these donors lack the notoriety of previous Trump backers such as Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman and tech investor Peter Thiel, their loyalty matches the intensity of the former president’s small donors and GOP primary voters.
Businessman and real estate manager Stan Pate posted on his Facebook page that he was at Trump’s fundraising event.
“My message to President Trump tonight in Bedminster ‘Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead’!” he wrote on the Facebook page next to a photo of him standing outside the golf course’s clubhouse. Pate gave $500,000 last year through one of his companies, Make America Great Again Inc., a pro-Trump super PAC.
Pate did not return a call seeking comment Tuesday.
Morning consultation votewhich was taken from the date of the federal indictment unsealed from June 9 to June 11 shows Trump still leading with 59% support among likely GOP primary voters. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is second with 19%.
The support from Trump’s core supporters contrasts with a major effort to impeach him. The Koch Network went digital advertisements against the ex-president, with one declaring: “Trump can’t win.”
Opponents, including DeSantis, were rotation wealthier donors to help recruit a leading player.