President Donald Trump is scheduled to come to Orange County on Sunday, Oct. 18 for a private fundraiser at tech mogul Palmer Luckey’s estate.
The news came Thursday, just as latest fundraising numbers showed the president falling behind former Vice President Joe Biden in campaign cash.
Biden raised a record-breaking $383 million in September to Trump’s $247.8 million, per reports due Thursday. And Biden reported $432 million in cash heading into October vs. Trump’s $251 million.
Invitations for Sunday’s fundraiser at Luckey’s Newport Beach home show tickets ranging from $2,800 for an individual admission to $150,000 for a couple to attend and take a photo with the president. Ric Grenell, Trump’s former acting Director of National Intelligence, is also slated to be a special guest at the event.
The event was originally slated to take place Oct. 6, but was postponed after Trump contracted the coronavirus. The president says he no longer feels ill and his doctors have cleared him for public appearances. But some experts have expressed concern about him holding in-person events less than two weeks after he was released from the hospital, and they continue to discourage any large public gatherings.
Luckey has donated $405,600 to Trump’s campaign this cycle, according to Federal Election Commission records. And he’s donated more than $1.7 million total this cycle, with much of the rest of those funds going to GOP committees and Republicans running for targeted seats, such as Michelle Steel in CA-48 and Young Kim in CA-39.
Luckey is a Long Beach native who was 19 when he co-founded the Oculus Rift virtual-reality system in Irvine. His company sold for an estimated $3 billion to Facebook in 2014. He didn’t report any political donations before 2017. But he has said he was forced out of Facebook that year after reports surfaced that he’d donated $10,000 to a pro-Trump nonprofit that touted the power of internet memes to swing elections.
Luckey said in a public apology at the time that he was a libertarian who supported Gary Johnson and Ron Paul, and his $677,558 in donations during the 2018 election cycle went to GOP committees and candidates other than Trump. But media outlets discovered that Luckey used shell companies to donate $100,000 to Trump’s inauguration committee. And now — as he’s focused on his defense and surveillance start-up Anduril, which is being called a “virtual border wall” — he’s openly supporting the president, who still aspires to build a wall at the Mexican border.