Uday and Qusay Trump Definitely Not Selling Access In Big Hunting-Themed Fundraiser, Nope
They wouldn't be hunting leopards this time, maybe immigrants.
Well, looks like those good ol' Trump boys gone and got themselves in a mess of trouble again, and now they're having to back off a couple promises made in their names. A big-money fundraiser for "conservation causes" set for the day after their daddy's inauguration has dropped the new president's name from the invitation, and now Team Trump is insisting Uday and Qusay were definitely not involved in planning the Jan. 21 “camouflage & cufflinks” event, no, not at all, even though their names were all over not just the invite, but also listed as directors of the newly formed charity that had been offering visits with the boys and Daddy Trump for the low, low price of $500,000 (for a group of eight) or $1 million (for a group of 16). Now it's not even clear whether big donors will be able to buy face-time with the president (at least this time), though his slack-jawed yokel sons are still apparently going to show up.
The final version has scaled back those promises a lot, offering only a "Private reception and photo opportunity" with "VIPs and celebrities associated with the event" and a "multi-day outdoor excursion," plus four guitars autographed by one of the performers at the event -- so far they've got Toby Keith and Alabama (the band, not the whole state), and "more surprise entertainers," which translates to "whoever we can scrape up." Probably Ted Nugent. Again.
And how involved were Donald Jr. and Eric in setting up this fiasco? Trump spokesbot Hope Hicks says the baby dopes weren't involved “in any capacity,” but the guys who are organizing the thing, who include some close pals of Uday and Qusay, say the Trump boys had taken part in early discussions of the fundraiser, and they're still listed as "honorary co-chairmen." The Washington Post notes that online traces of their involvement were briefly visible:
In fact, their names were prominently listed as the main hosts of the event on its official website, which was temporarily live Tuesday. And the Eventbrite page to purchase tickets for the event names the brothers as “organizer.”
That Eventbrite page has since been modified to list the Trump boys as "Honorary Co-Chairmen," but the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine caught a snapshot of the earlier version, as of 2 a.m. Wednesday:
The official Trump story is now that all of the planning has been the work of a couple of the Trump boys' pals, Gentry Beach (a hedge fund manager, not a location) and Tom Hicks Jr., a private-equity investor, who share the Trump kids' enthusiasm for nature, the outdoors, and killing large game.
“One of the important things for Don Jr. and Eric is conservation, and we wanted to help them organize a party to celebrate conservation,” [Tom] Hicks said in an interview. “After the president-elect won, we got focused on this. Don Jr. and Gentry have been spearheading it.”
Hope Hicks added the family wasn't involved in any of the details of the event, no way:
“Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump are avid outdoorsman and supporters of conservation efforts, which align with the goals of this event, however they are not involved in any capacity,” she said in a statement. “Additionally, the President-elect is not aware of the event or the details pertaining to.”
Definitely not, it was all just a big misunderstanding in a draft of the invitation. Moreover, Beach and Tom Hicks just got a little overzealous when they included Eric and Don Jr. as directors on the corporate filing in Texas for the "Opening Day Foundation," the brand-new "charity" that's running the event. In fact, the Trump transition team says the boys were listed on the document without their permission, and they've asked Texas's secretary of state to remove them from it. The group is still in the process of applying for status as a 501(c)(3) charity with the IRS.
Oh, and funny thing, the organizers are still awfully vague about where the money from the fundraiser is supposed to go. The invite promised only that proceeds "will be donated to conservation charities," and Mark Brinkerhoff, a spokesperson for the Opening Day Foundation, says until the group's charity status is recognized, it's working with another hunting/outdoorsy group, the Boone and Crockett Club Foundation, based in Montana.
That appeared to be news to the Boone and Crockett Club's spokescritter, Greg Duncan, who told the Washington Post the group was still "considering" whether it would take part in the fundraiser. We bet they decide real soon they're going to, because the people running this clusterfuck need cover.
Brinkerhoff says Don Jr. and Eric are expected to show up for the event -- where you are allowed to wear jeans and boots, even -- but it's not clear now whether Donald Trump will show up at all. Would-be influence buyers will just have to buy a ticket for a million bucks and find out, won't they? At the very least, they might be able to rub shoulders with Scott Baio, maybe.
Some jaded "watchdog" groups still think maybe the whole thing stinks, like Common Cause president Karen Hobert Flynn, who told the Washington Post,
Those people who contribute are not going because they’re dying to spend time with Eric Trump [...] They’re going because they’re the president’s sons, and they hope that their donations get them something in return.
Well! Don't expect WaPo to win itself off being banned by the Trumpenvolk anytime soon, not when it ends its story on the fundraiser so cynically.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.