Jul 7, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Steve Scalise PAC invites donors to fundraiser at Disney World

Steve Scalise with a coronavirus chart

Photo: Kevin Lamarque-Pool/Getty Images

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise’s PAC is inviting lobbyists to attend a four-day “Summer Meeting” at Disney World's Polynesian Village in Florida, all but daring donors to swallow their concern about coronavirus and contribute $10,000 to his leadership PAC.

Why it matters: Scalise appears to be the first House lawmakers to host an in-person destination fundraiser since the severity of pandemic became clear. The invite for the “Summer Meeting” for the Scalise Leadership Fund, obtained by Axios, makes no mention of COVID-19.

  • The House minority whip, who was shot at a baseball practice in 2017 and was in danger of losing his life, is signaling a lack of concern about COVID-19.
  • Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden, seem more comfortable sticking to socially-distant zoom calls to raise money.
  • The July 31-Aug. 3 PAC event is scheduled for Florida, where COVID-19 cases have been surging.
  • Scalise's office did not respond to requests for comment.

The big picture: Scalise is not only competing with Democratic leadership PACs and campaign arms to raise money, he’s showing muscle within his own party.

  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy hasn't made a final call on his annual August Jackson Hole gathering for big donors, but may cancel it, according to an aide.
  • The #2 House Republican is following the lead of President Trump, who hosted 15 donors at his Bedminster club last month, raising $3 million.
  • Guests had to take a COVID test before the POTUS event.
  • Trump has testified to Scalise's toughness and marveled at his "guts" for returning to Congress after being shot and thanked him publicly — and numerous times — for his steadfast support during impeachment.

Between the lines: The invite bills two private evening events, a “Hoop Dee Hoo Musical Revue” and final "character breakfast" on Aug. 3.

  • The mask wars that we saw on Capitol Hill last month are migrating to fundraising arena, where real money, and reputation, are at stake.
  • Rooms cost an additional $609 per night.
  • Disney World is planning on a phased reopening, starting on July 11.

The bottom line: Just as Trump is planning on rallies while his opponent avoids them, House Republicans are highlighting their lack of concern about the virus by hosting in-person events.

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