Health and Science

Cleveland Clinic won't commit to fundraiser next year at Trump's resort after travel ban uproar

Mar-a-Lago Resort
Joe Raedle | Getty Images

The Cleveland Clinic, under fire for plans to host a fundraiser next month at President Donald Trump's Florida resort even as Trump's travel ban forced one the renowned hospital's doctors to leave the United States, said Monday it will not commit to holding that event at the resort next year.

The Cleveland Clinic has held its fundraiser at Trump's Mar-A-Lago resort in Palm Beach since 2011. The next fundraiser at the resort, on Feb. 25, is dubbed "Reflections of Versailles: A Night in the Hall of Mirrors," with tickets ranging from $1,250 to $100,000 a person.

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When asked Monday by CNBC if it still planned on holding the event next month given the travel ban uproar, clinic spokeswoman Eileen Sheil said, "No change for this year."

"But we are not committed after this year's event," Sheil added.

When asked if that lack of commitment was a reaction to the travel order and subsequent fallout from it, Sheil said: "We're getting a lot of feedback from our communities and want to be very considerate of that."

On Saturday, Dr. Suha Abushamma was forced to leave New York after landing there, and fly to Saudi Arabia as a result of Trump's executive order barring visitors from seven largely Muslim nations for 90 days. Abushamma holds a passport from Sudan, one of the seven nations.

A STAT News story about Abushamma's departures mentioned the fact that her employer, the Cleveland Clinic, was hosting its fundraiser at Trump's resort. STAT also noted that Trump was chairman of the event in 2014.

Dr. Adeel Khan, a resident of internal medicine at the hospital, tweeted the STAT story on Monday, noting the fundraiser "at a Trump resort," and addressing Cleveland Clinic CEO Dr. Toby Cosgrove's Twitter handle, saying "This needs to stop."


Other medical professionals not affiliated with the clinic also reportedly criticized the scheduled fundraiser.

Cosgrove reportedly turned down Trump's offer to name him secretary of Veterans Affairs, an offer that was made before the travel ban.

In a statement on its website, the Cleveland Clinic said, "Recent immigration action taken by the White House has caused a great deal of uncertainty and has impacted some of our employees who are traveling overseas."

"We deeply care about all of our employees and are fully committed to the safe return of those who have been affected by this action," the hospital's statement said.

The same website posted a message from Abushamma.

"I want to personally thank everyone for their support and well wishes," Abushamma wrote. "Although this has been a difficult experience, I am grateful to be safe with my family in Saudi Arabia. Please know that I am deeply committed to my medical career and to helping patients at Cleveland Clinic."

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