More charities cancel fund-raisers at Trump's Mar-a-Lago club

US President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach is seen from West Palm Beach, Florida, US, on March 5, 2017.
US President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach is seen from West Palm Beach, Florida, US, on March 5, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

PALM BEACH, FLORIDA (NYTIMES) - With its ornate 20,000 sq ft ballroom and manicured lawns, President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, is often the site of elaborate fund-raisers, drawing big charities - and big dollars.

But several organisations are having a change of heart since Trump blamed "both sides" for the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, after a white nationalist rally and an attack by a driver that left a woman dead.

Over the weekend, the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach and the Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society became the latest non-profit groups to cancel galas at Mar-a-Lago.

"Given the current environment surrounding Mar-a-Lago, we have made the decision to move our annual dinner dance," the Preservation Foundation said in a post Saturday on its Facebook page.

On Sunday, the Zoo and Conservation Society followed suit, saying in a statement that its 2018 Tropical Safari Gala will not be at Mar-a-Lago, because "it is important that we not allow distractions to deter us from our mission and culture".

Large non-profits began peeling away from Mar-a-Lago on Thursday. The Washington Post reported that the American Cancer Society, the Cleveland Clinic and the American Friends of Magen David Adom all announced they would not be holding fund-raisers at the Palm Beach resort.

On Friday, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and Susan G. Komen also cancelled events at Mar-a-Lago.

Mar-a-Lago "has increasingly become a source of controversy and pain for many of our volunteers, employees and supporters", the Red Cross said in a statement announcing that the 2018 International Red Cross Ball had been cancelled.

"The Red Cross provides assistance without discrimination to all people in need, regardless of nationality, race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or political opinions, and we must be clear and unequivocal in our defense of that principle," the statement said.

On Friday, Nancy G. Brinker, founder of the Susan G. Komen organisation, wrote a post on Facebook in support of the board's decision to seek another venue for the yearly fund-raiser: "There are no excuses, parsing or moral relativism when it comes to racism, bigotry and violence. There are no 'sides'. They are always wrong. Period."