President Trump attended Saturday night’s fundraising ball for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, which was held at Mar-a-Lago — his Florida home and so-called winter White House.

While the Harvard-affiliated Boston hospital has held the posh annual event at the private club since 2011, and in 2008, this year’s gala drew criticism from Dana-Farber’s staff and Harvard medical students, who saw Trump’s actions, especially his executive order on immigration, as in direct conflict with the hospital’s mission. Dana-Farber declined to cancel, saying it was too late to change plans, but said it would avoid “controversial venues” in the future.

Trump was among last night’s celebrity attendees; former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney showed up, and German tennis player Tommy Haas made an appearance, according to his verified Twitter account. Dana-Farber staff were also in attendance; a photograph in the Palm Beach Daily News shows Dr. Stephen Sallan, chief of staff emeritus, as well as Steven Singer, senior vice president for communications.


Guests dined on herb-marinated sliced filet of beef coated in a mushroom Madeira glaze, according to a menu provided by an attendee.

The president arrived at the club’s ballroom just after a performance by Canadian musician David Foster had begun; hundreds stood applauding, according to videos posted on social media by multiple attendees.

“Well, either I have the best timing in the world, or the worst timing in the world,” Foster quipped after the applause died down. He continued with his performance: “In spite of the one hundred armed men that are now in the room, we’re going to try to have some fun.”

At one point during Foster’s performance, he invited Mulroney onstage to sing a few lines from “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.”

“Mr. President, I hope this doesn’t fracture Canadian-US relations,” Mulroney said by way of introduction.

After dinner, guests decamped to the pool, where they enjoyed an “extravagant ice cream sundae bar” and espresso drinks, according to the menu.

About 500 people attended the event, which raised $2.2 million. Dana-Farber President and CEO Dr. Laurie Glimcher expressed her appreciation in a letter printed in the evening’s program. “Thank you for your generosity, which is benefiting patients in Palm Beach, New England, and all around the world,” she wrote.

Colleen Farrell, a fourth-year Harvard Medical School student and one of the organizers of the protests, said that Trump’s appearance at Saturday’s party proves the point that she and the hundreds of other students and doctors who advocated for Dana-Farber to relocate the fundraiser were trying to make: “You can’t say you’re staying out of politics while simultaneously holding your fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago.”

Farrell said she is worried that Trump’s presence might give the impression that he is doing something positive for the world of cancer research, but that unless he adopts policies to that effect, it’s “really just another TV farce.”

Dana-Farber declined to allow a STAT reporter to attend the event, and did not respond to requests for comment on Sunday.

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  • My wife is living with Stage IV cancer and my heart is broken. She is receiving her treatment at Dana-Farber which is one of the finest cancer research facilities in the world. I did not vote for President Trump but I know the people who attend these types of events raise enormous amounts of money to help people like my wife, who did nothing to deserve cancer and everything to avoid it. If your family is effected by this devastating illness you may suddenly find yourself being less judgemental about who is trying to help raise money. Thank you to everyone involved in this event, including President Trump.

    • Unfortunately, sometimes it takes someone I your situation to understand this rather difficult issue.
      Many protesters don’t have a clue!

  • What was Trump’s donation, or was it from his so-called charity? Or did he just party crash for the free food (he should go to an obesity fundraiser, BLOATUS could be the poster boy.

  • How can anyone dare say terrible things about a president who takes no pay,no lobbyists,and opens his Golf Club to help people with cancer? You journalists are rotten to the core.
    President Trump doesn’t need the money,he can walk. If I were him,I would. He is doing this because this country is in trouble,as you just proved in your hateful article,and you are a huge part of the problem.lying media, is anything more discraseful?
    The president raised 2.2 million for suffering people with cancer and you comment on the food?
    I promise to go to every social media I find and tell truth about the trash you report.
    I wish Hillary on you. A common criminal. But you love her because she paid your bribes.
    Sharon Wright

  • Does Mar a Lago send a bill for Trump particpation to the WH? And of course,that is tax payer money going into Trumps pocket…

  • I just wonder how much Dana-Faber paid to have President Trump attending and what they want from him especially since the ACA is going to be repealed and Dana-Faber owns several Hospitals. It is sad exposure to the President of the United States is these days pay for play.

  • Even a cancer fundraiser is controversial…..

    5 middle school age kids were caught throwing a wooden block at Trumps motor cabe…..keep up the hate.

    • From now on most events held at Mar-a-Lago will be controversial. This venue was booked before Trump got elected so Dana Farber will be cut some slack here but a few DFCI physicians withdrew from the event and that’s well within their prerogative.
      And it’s ‘motorcade’ not motor cabe.
      Get real, will you? A bunch of 12 year olds throwing a piece of wood is more ‘dare worthy’ than hateful.

    • This event was booked before Trump was elected, but Trump was a racist, xenophobic, anti-gay, misogynist, science-denying pig long before he was elected. (For a lot of people, that’s exactly why they voted for him.) Apparently he’s always been that way. Everyone, including Dana-Farber, knew it then, and knows it now. Make your own judgments about organizations that would associate their names and reputations with the likes of Trump.

    • This event was booked before he was elected, but Trump was a racist, gay-hating, xenophobic, misogynist, science-denying pig long before the election. Dana-Farber chose anyway to attach its reputation to such a man, giving him their famous name to boast of. Going forward, as far as I’m concerned, any business that has even a fine dotted line connecting it to Trump is radioactive and I will stay away. Besides our votes, resistance is all we’ve got. I intend to resist.

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