TALLAHASSEE - After weeks of silence about the event, Republican Party of Florida leaders said Tuesday their big annual fundraiser --- with President Donald Trump as the keynote speaker --- will be held Dec. 7 in Miami.
The 2019 Statesman’s Dinner was initially planned for Nov. 9 in Orlando, but it was abruptly postponed with a two-week notice.
A day after the postponement, Gov. Ron DeSantis made a surprise announcement that Trump would appear at the event in December. In the following weeks, state party leaders refused to answer questions about the event's details and whether media would be allowed to attend. On Tuesday, they said in a news release the event would be held in Miami and that it will be closed to the press.
The venue for the event was not announced.
“I am looking forward to President Donald J. Trump joining Florida Republicans as we close out a great year of building a unified front in a critical upcoming election year,” DeSantis, who had been scheduled to be a keynote speaker at the Nov. 9 event, said in a statement. Party Chairman Joe Gruters, a Sarasota state senator, said the annual dinner will “lay out the foundation of overwhelming support across Florida for all our great Republican candidates.”
Florida Democratic Party Executive Director Juan Penalosa made fun of the decision to close the event to reporters, suggesting on Twitter that Republican leaders don’t want press around because they don’t want to be seen in photos alongside Trump.