Bedminster fundraiser drew donors from across country

Several Republican donors who attended President Donald Trump’s recent fundraiser came from and, in some cases, then went to other parts of the country.

The fundraiser Thursday at Trump’s Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club occurred just before the president announced that he had the coronavirus

CNBC reviewed the social media pages of some donors who showed their followers through pictures and videos that they attended the fundraising event. GOP donors who attended the gathering, which cost up to $250,000 per person, were panicking in the early hours of Friday after Trump revealed his diagnosis. 

A Trump Victory email sent late Friday morning to attendees said people weren’t allowed within 6 feet of the president. “Please contact your medical provider if you or any of your loved ones is ill or develops a fever, shortness of breath, or other respiratory symptoms,” the email said.

The president’s eventual positive test prompted concerns that people who attended the fundraiser could pose an infection risk to others. Those worries are likely to be heightened by the fact that some of the people left New Jersey for other parts of the country.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy urged everyone who attended the event “to take full precautions, including self-quarantining and getting tested.” Over 200,000 people in the U.S. have died from the coronavirus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

Research done by the Twitter account of Resist Programming led CNBC to the videos, which were later verified through reviewing social media accounts. All of the attendees mentioned in this story initially did not return requests for comment. 

Attendees included Natalie Workman and Brandon Dawson, who, according to their LinkedIn pages, have run businesses in Washington state for years. On each of their Instagram timelines they are pictured at a roundtable. In the background it’s clear that the nameplate at the front of the table is Trump’s. One of the pictures says, “Getting ready to meet with the Big Boss!” A caption of Workman’s Instagram photo says: “Sat across from the President today. I don’t care who you vote for during this election but know that your vote matters.” 

The two are not wearing masks in that picture. 

Dawson’s Instagram timeline includes a video of his private jet, and viewers can hear him say: “We just got done here in New York, actually New Jersey, to meet with the president and now we are flying to Arizona.” Workman is seen getting on the same plane. “She’s so pretty,” Dawson exclaims.

CNBC searched his tail number, which was captured in Dawson’s Instagram timeline, and found through the flight tracking site Flight Aware that the plane took off from Morristown Airport in New Jersey and landed in Scottsdale, Arizona. It’s about a 30-minute drive from Trump’s golf course to the airport. 

Then there are Charlie Kolean and Daniel Hux, two Texas-based businessmen who, according to Kolean’s Instagram page, were filmed at Trump’s Bedminster event. 

Kolean said in his video that the president took questions from the crowd and “it went on for about an hour and 40 minutes.” 

Kolean is then pictured standing next to a lectern that has the presidential seal and is holding a badge that says “Special Event with President Donald J. Trump. Trump National Bedminster” and Thursday’s date. Hux is pictured with Kolean repeatedly. After the event, the two drive into New York City, Kolean’s Instagram shows. 

They drove through Times Square and later Kolean is seen in a video standing in front of the Wall Street bull. They are then pictured in New York’s financial district and later in front of One World Trade Center.  When outside of their vehicle, the videos show Kolean and Hux were not wearing masks. Kolean mentions Hux’s name and his account is private. 

On Hux’s website, he’s seen pictured with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Gov. Greg Abbott. 

After the publication of this article, Hux confirmed in a statement that he did attend the Trump fundraiser on Thursday and is self quarantining out of an abundance of caution before he can be tested. 

“On Thursday I attended a fundraiser in support of President Trump at the Trump national golf club in Bedminster, NJ. All attendees who were to be in close proximity to our President, were covid-19 tested on location before entrance,” Hux said late Friday. “I stayed 6 feet away from the President at all times as well, but out of an abundance of caution have quarantined myself until I can be tested.”

Some Republican donors questioned the president’s decision to go to the event after his longtime advisor Hope Hicks became ill. Hicks tested positive Thursday morning after displaying symptoms Wednesday night while on a campaign trip to Minnesota with the president. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters Friday that Hicks’ diagnosis became known just before the president left for Bedminster.

Representatives for the Trump campaign and Republican National Committee did not respond to requests for comment. 

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