breaking news

AC/DC co-founder Malcolm Young dead at 64

Palm Beach chamber head to charities: ‘Have a conscience’ on Mar-a-Lago


Laurel Baker, executive director of the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce, minced no words Thursday about whether charities should continue to hold their events at Mar-a-Lago this season following President Donald Trump’s statements about the recent violence in Charlottesville, Va.

“If you have a conscience, you’re really condoning bad behavior by continuing to be there,” Baker said. “Many say it’s the dollars (raised at the events) that count. Yes. But the integrity of any or organization rests on their sound decisions and stewardship.”

» NEW: Cleveland Clinic leaving Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, may move gala to Eau

She added: ”Personally, I do not feel that supporting him, directly or indirectly, speaks well of any organization.”

Baker’s comments are the strongest yet from Palm Beach County’s business community in the wake of Trump’s conflicting and, too many, polarizing statements made in the aftermath of the weekend violence.

On Friday night, neo-Nazis and white supremacists marched through the northwestern Virginia town that is home to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. On Saturday, a suspected white supremacist a rammed a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring 19.

In response, Trump first blamed Saturday’s violence “on many sides,” but zeroed in specific criticism of the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis two days later after a backlash to his initial statement.

However, Trump doubled down on his first set of comments during a volatile, off-the-cuff news conference Tuesday afternoon at Trump Tower — and then tweeted support for Confederate monuments on Thursday.

The president’s defiant statements, which have been applauded by former KKK leader David Duke and other white supremacists, have put national business leaders in a quandary. A series of defections from two White House business advisory councils led to dissolution of the groups on Wednesday.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: Latest news, photos, videos on President Donald Trump

However, no one from the Palm Beach County business community had spoken out publicly — until Baker.

Baker also expressed no patience for charities that will try to keep a low profile during this turbulent period.

“I hope that people will not maintain their neutrality,” she said. “This is the best time ever for people to show their backbone.”

Baker encouraged all charities to reexamine their core purpose for guidance about how to react to Trump’s comments.

In particular, she called out charities that advocate for social justice, the disabled, the poor and the sick.

“Look at your mission statement,” Baker said. “Are you living up to it?””



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in

If association president won’t follow will of board, replace him

Question: I live in a new townhome golf cart community with a newly established HOA, of which I am the secretary. The community has one road with a gated entrance and a posted 20 mph speed limit. We have mailed several newsletters to owners regarding speeding, which is dangerous for pedestrians and children. The board finally voted to install one custom...
Palm Beach County unemployment rate hits lowest level in a decade
Palm Beach County unemployment rate hits lowest level in a decade

Palm Beach County unemployment hit its lowest point in a decade in October, the state labor department said Friday. Palm Beach County’s jobless rate was just 3.6 percent, down from 3.7 percent in September and 5 percent a year ago. The last time the region’s unemployment fell so low was early 2007. “October’s hiring burst largely...
4 of the best ways to turn your home into a cash cow
4 of the best ways to turn your home into a cash cow

Your house is a large expense with many associated costs like a mortgage payment, insurance, maintenance and more. It provides a roof over your head, of course, but since it usually costs you money each month, why not put it to work for you and earn some cash in the process? The following are four ways your house can make you money: If you're planning...
Airbags like ‘grenade’ in car, but fewer than half fixed, report says
Airbags like ‘grenade’ in car, but fewer than half fixed, report says

A  new report says it’s like having a “grenade” in your car. Stephanie Erdman of Destin, who was seriously injured by the airbag explosion in her Honda Civic during a traffic crash, testifies during a hearing before Congress in 2014. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) Years into the largest and...
6 things to know about working for Uber
6 things to know about working for Uber

Uber has been making headlines in recent months for everything from a new CEO to industry regulation. But if you want to work as a driver for the service that revolutionized the taxi-transport industry, there is more important information about Uber you'll want to check out. Here are six things you need to know about Uber before working for them...
More Stories