Home>Articles>Abe Hamadeh Makes a Splash at Mar-a-Lago

President Trump spoke to the attendees of a post-reception dinner for Abe Hamadeh, March 19, 2024, at Mar-a-Lago. (Photo: Yolanda Hill Photography/Abe Hamadeh for Congress)

Abe Hamadeh Makes a Splash at Mar-a-Lago

Poolside fundraiser collects checks from a Who’s Who of MAGA Superstars

By Ken Kurson, March 20, 2024 8:13 am

Palm Beach, Florida—The sun was shining, the necklines were plunging, and the Mar-a-Lago faithful were rocking “Happy Warrior” ball caps.

That was the scene in Palm Beach last night on a perfect Tuesday evening, where more than 100 supporters gathered to join a cast of MAGA All-Stars in supporting Abe Hamadeh in his run for Congress in Arizona’s eighth congressional district.

Hamadeh scored a major win with the endorsement of former President Trump in his contested primary for the Republican nomination to replace Debbie Lesko, whose surprise decision not to run for re-election shook the state. One of the coveted perks of a Trump endorsement is the ability to come to Mar-a-Lago in search of fat stacks from what’s become the center of gravity for American conservatives.

And wow, did they ever show for Abe.

Here was Bryan Leib, talking foreign policy with the candidate and introducing him to Palm Beach royalty. There were Marc Goldman and Ken Abromowitz, total machers sending an unmistakable signal that this candidate—an Arabic speaking Druze whose family immigrated from Syria—is on-side on all issues of importance to Jewish Republicans. There’s Alina Habba, the former president’s lawyer in various civil matters, taking selfies with fans and absolutely slaying in a white and off-white linen number.

The high wattage was no surprise, given the muscle of the host committee.

Each took the stage to offer a short introduction to the usual – why Arizona matters, and why this is the most important election of our lifetime.

Abe Hamadeh, Bernie Kerik, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Ric Grenell and Kash Patel at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, March 19, 2024. (Photo: Ken Kurson for Arizona Globe)

First was Ric Grenell, former ambassador to Germany, and Director of National Intelligence during the Trump Administration. Grenell, a serious Christian who frequently quotes scripture to his 1.2 million strong Twitter following, had shown me the day before that he is now wearing a star of David next to the cross on his necklace. He told me it was to signify both support for Israel and our nation’s roots in Judeo-Christian values. Grenell has been a loud voice for reminding Americans of the uncomfortable reality that Hamas, who President Biden grows more fond of by the day, still holds several Americans hostage among the more than 100 in its captivity from its attack six months ago.

Next was Kash Patel, the peerless provocateur, who joked how hard it is to follow a handsome gay man on any stage. True! Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes and like Hamadeh a former prosecutor, touted Abe’s willingness to bring the fight, and the unspoken part of Patel’s presentation was, “Here’s an Indian guy supporting a candidate of Middle Eastern background amid an audience with lots of Jews.” As Trump’s numbers surge among the black and Hispanic communities, a phenomenon so strong that Nate Silver describes it as “Democrats hemorrhaging support with voters of color,” one wonders how long the Democrats can paint an increasingly diverse Republican Party as automatically racist.

Then came Bernie Kerik, the former commissioner of New York Police Department, most famously during the attacks of September 11, 2001. Bernie just gets it. Having faced the worst domestic attack in our history – and it’s particularly sickening to anyone who watched men like Bernie lose dozens of colleagues to listen to January 6 exaggerators make ludicrous comparisons between those two famous American dates – Bernie comprehends what’s at stake with an intentionally porous southern border. Just a couple days ago, a Hezbollah-trained terrorist was detained at the border and told agents he was headed for New York City “to make a bomb.” The dozens, or even hundreds, more just like him who did not meet the increasingly rare fate of being detained must be staring at our country and its leaders in gleeful disbelief.

Siggy Flicker and Alina Habba at Abe Hamadeh event at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, March 19, 2024. (Photo: Ken Kurson for Arizona Globe)

Kerik was about to introduce the next scheduled speaker when a surprise guest was spotted by the pool. Kerik ad-libbed a quick welcome for a man he served alongside during the attack on their city. Rudy Giuliani made it to the stage with a spring in his step. Without any prepared remarks, or having been expected to even be there let alone speak, Hizzoner trained the full force of one of America’s great trial minds on the Biden Administration. It has, of course, become great sport for Trump haters and all liberals to ridicule this man. After Sept 11, The New York Times and the David Lettermans of the world were tripping over themselves to praise him and knight him, and proclaim him Time’s Man of the Year while they were hiding under their desks and Rudy was leading the entire free world back to confidence and stability during its darkest hour. People who are desperate to assign the phrase “threat to democracy” to anyone who dares question even the most outrageous and obvious election irregularities might want to re-watch the videotape of several jet airliners that had been hijacked and pointed at symbols of western military and financial strength. Now that’s a threat to democracy.

Rudy understands that. And still, a few months shy of 80, articulates it with greater power and coherence than just about anyone in American politics. Snark all you like, sue him for ridiculous judgments in flimsy lawsuits, disbar him. What cannot be taken from this man is the power of his thinking and persuasiveness of his arguments.

Rudy talked about how it’s become common understanding that we now have a two-tiered justice system. “But ‘two-tiered justice’ really means ‘no justice.’ Because it means justice for some and no justice for others. That’s the second tier.”

Rudy Giuliani speaks as Bernie Kerik, Abe Hamadeh and Kimberly Guilfoyle look on, at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, March 19, 2024. (Photo: Ken Kurson for Arizona Globe)

Rudy is right. The Democrats have found a silver bullet in the form of lawfare, which attempts to jail or bankrupt its target. But even when it fails, it has the effect of tying an opponents’ hands and keeping them from their own campaigns and developing ideas. It also discourages promising candidates who would be willing to endure the ordinary abuse of campaigns, but don’t want to see their entire net worth confiscated by judges and juries cherry-picked from jurisdictions hostile to conservatives and baked on the Saul Alinsky view that victory at any cost is the only goal.

Rudy alluded to how unrecognizable this so-called justice system would feel to the federal judge for whom he clerked. I can’t imagine there was anyone in the audience besides myself, who wrote a book with His Honor, who knew he was talking about Judge Lloyd F MacMahon. Judge MacMahon was the exact kind of dying breed–the tough but fair no-nonsense jurist—who made America’s justice system a shining example throughout the world. That system has been transformed into a totally politicized operation, in which removing rivals from the ballot, arresting them, suing them, and jailing them have become part of the campaign season. It’s hard to imagine today’s American courts would even be recognizable to Judge MacMahon. And it breaks my heart to see what it’s done to my hero, Rudy Giuliani.

After Rudy’s surprise appearance, the program got back on track as Kimberly Guilfoyle took the stage. With her famous curves rocking a gorgeous black dress, she described how a Republican majority in the house will benefit a future Trump Administration. “Abe Hamadeh will stand up to my Puerto Rican sister not from the same mother,” she joked, referring to Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and the rest of the squad. And then she introduced the candidate.

Abe Hamadeh gave a compelling and tight presentation, reflecting his experience as a prosecutor. With his brother and sister and parents standing by his side, Abe reminded this Florida audience of just a few of the specific shenanigans that took place in 2020 and 2022 in his home state. He joked that the Arizona desert felt like home to his Middle Eastern parents and spoke of the importance of electing young, ambitious leaders, who will have the time and patience to unwind the nonsense that has accumulated during decades of control by Democrats and establishment Republicans, which Hamadeh clearly views as only marginally less problematic than the Democrats.

The reception ended and the major donors headed for dinner. President Trump even made an appearance, according to several attendees and a photo I spotted on an Abe staffer’s Insta. Check out the ABE hat on the stage.

Successful campaigns require resources. There’s nothing dirty or shameful about that. It takes brains and heart to formulate a message that resonates. But it takes money to amplify that message. Candidates from all over America come to Mar-a-Lago to squeeze checks out of some of America’s best-heeled donors. I imagine we’ll see a sharp uptick in Florida donations on Abe’s Q1 financial report. But the couple hundred grand he likely raised on a sunny Tuesday evening in Florida is really not the most important part in a competitive Republican primary. The strong endorsement of President Trump – who made the endorsement of Abe while there were still a nominally competitive primary for president going on — will likely be the more valuable takeaway. That embrace was particularly notable in this case because GOP hopeful Blake Masters, Arizona’s 2022 Senate candidate, had been hoping to land that endorsement. Meanwhile another of the leading candidates, Ben Toma, had endorsed Florida governor Ron DeSantis for the presidential nomination.

With the All-Star cast Hamadeh was able to assemble last night, both on the invitation and on the dais, it’s clear that the entirety of MAGA world has unified behind his candidacy. But it’s a long way to July 30, and only then will we understand the value of these near unanimous endorsements.

Abe Hamadeh at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, March 19, 2024. (Photo: Ken Kurson for Arizona Globe)
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