Forget selling tickets — the GOP apparently can’t even give away a free dinner that comes with a side of Steve Bannon, the self-proclaimed brains behind Donald Trump’s ascendency to the White House.
These days, the two-shirted former chief strategist appears to be having trouble just drawing people to his rallies, much less convincing them to buy a $1,000 ticket to see him speak at a fundraising dinner.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that tickets to the "The Trump Anniversary Dinner with Steve Bannon” in Florida’s Hillsborough County, which went 44 percent Trump in 2016, initially billed dinner tickets as high as $20,000 for 10 premier seats, VIP tickets for $1,000 and general admission for $125. Those prices were then reduced to $5,000, $300 and $50, respectively. Now they’re being offered for free.
"We want to pack the house!!!" a Facebook post for the event said. On Monday, the Hillsborough GOP did its best to make that happen, blasting party members with an offer of free tickets, which the group claims were provided at the last minute by a generous, apparently anonymous donor.
"The Trump Anniversary Dinner with Steve Bannon this Friday will be COMPLEMENTARY TO ALL,” an email sent to party members said. “We have a donor who will cover our expenses."
According to the Times, the party's vice chairman, Jeff Lukens, declined to respond to follow-up questions about the sudden giveaway.
It's the latest apparent blow to Bannon’s self-proclaimed populist movement as he struggles to turn voters out for Republican midterm election rallies. On Monday, for example, Bannon threw a shindig in New York City’s lone red borough, Staten Island, where he drew a crowd of 38 people. For context, that’s about 60 fewer people than your average Apple Store employs.
And on Wednesday, Bannon headed upstate to Buffalo to hold a rally for Republican candidates, none of whom seemed to want his assistance. Although around 200 people showed up to the rally, but Michael Caputo, the organizer of the event, told the Guardian that not a single one of the Republican candidates had replied to his invitation to attend.
Cover image: Steve Bannon, former chairman of Breitbart News Network LLC and former Trump political strategist, gestures as he speaks during an interview at the Bloomberg Invest London event at Bloomberg's European headquarters in London, Oct. 10, 2018. Photo: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg via Getty Images