Politics

RNC Touts Focuses on ‘Working Class’ While Staying at $1,283-A-Night Pacific Coast Resort

DANA POINT, Calif. ― Any Republican grassroots activists considering heading to the party’s winter meeting to lobby members ahead of Friday’s presidential election should probably check their credit card limits.

Rooms at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach resort, where the Republican National Committee is packed this week, start at $1,283 for Wednesday night with a AAA discount and $881 for Thursday night. These rates do not include a mandatory resort fee of $55 per night. night.

“It costs $75 just to park a car!” complained conservative radio host John Fredericks as he sat in the lobby bar, adding that breakfast for two had set him back $120. “And we’re supposed to be the party of the working class? It’s like the Politburo going to the Black Sea.”

Perched on a bluff with impressive views of the Pacific Ocean, the hotel has a 30-metre swimming pool and easy access to a secluded beach. It offers participants a golf course, spa and several exclusive boutiques, including a Cartier jewels. Rooms have deep jacuzzi tubs and come with copies of Robb Report’s luxury lifestyle magazine stacked with the hotel brochure.

Fredericks, a frequent guest on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast and supporter of coup attempt former President Donald Trump, said it was obvious why the party chose the most expensive hotel for miles around.

“Why do they keep it there? So you can’t go,” he told Bannon in a recent broadcast. “The grass roots are tired of being dictated by the arrogance and elitism of these people… I’m trying to give our base access to what going on.”

RNC members and staff pointed out that thanks to the block rate negotiated with the hotel, members, their invited guests and party staff pay a base rate of just $250 per night. night.

While this discount makes the rooms affordable for members—many of whom are not particularly wealthy and mostly pay their own expenses to attend meetings—it still results in large fees for food and other expenses.

“It’s ridiculous,” said one RNC member, speaking on condition of anonymity, about the restaurant prices. “I’m looking for every free meal I can get.”

The Republican National Committee holds its winter meeting at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort, where room rates typically exceed $1,000 per person.  night.

The Republican National Committee holds its winter meeting at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort, where room rates typically exceed $1,000 per person. night.

The Republican National Committee holds its winter meeting at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort, where room rates typically exceed $1,000 per person. night.

An RNC official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said the party is limited in its options. A hotel must have at least 350 rooms and enough meeting space for the various committees and subcommittees to meet simultaneously, be able to serve multiple meals to hundreds and, most importantly, be willing to handle potential protests and negative publicity. “Most hotels don’t want to deal with a Republican event,” the official said.

However, this block rate is only available to people the party or one of its 168 members want to be there.

And it by definition excludes the “anti-establishment” party activists at the precinct and state levels who are most interested in blocking incumbent Speaker Ronna McDaniel from winning a fourth two-year term.

“Re-electing her will ruin the party,” Fredericks said.

Choosing expensive hotels also has the effect of deterring some media from being there to cover meetings.

In the past, RNC-hired security personnel have worked to limit reporters’ access. In 2021, at the winter meeting in Amelia Island, Florida, the party’s agreement restricted security-restricted journalist movements within public areas of the Ritz Carlton. A year later in Salt Lake City, RNC security actually required reporters to show their room keys at the Great America Hotel or be kicked out of the property.

If the intention of choosing such an exclusive venue was to avoid theatrics and controversy, it may not have succeeded.

Fredericks, who works with Bannon, staged a candidate debate Wednesday at a nearby Marriott Residence Inn, but it ended with only election conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell, a major sponsor of both their podcasts.

A conference room of 50 Bannon fans, many wearing Trump gear, filled the room when Fredericks, who uses hundreds of thousands of Hilton Honors points to cover his room rate, told them they would not be welcome at the Waldorf Astoria.

“Good luck walking down the hall with the Mussolini Gestapo there,” he warned.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel speaks Tuesday during a volunteer appreciation event at the Asian Pacific American Community Center in Westminster, California.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel speaks Tuesday during a volunteer appreciation event at the Asian Pacific American Community Center in Westminster, California.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel speaks Tuesday during a volunteer appreciation event at the Asian Pacific American Community Center in Westminster, California.

Caroline Wren, a former fundraiser for Trump who is now supporting Harmeet Dhillon’s challenge to McDaniel and who appeared at the debate to represent Dhillon, said, “If we won the election, that would be fine. But we’re not.”

On Wednesday night, failed Arizona gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake mingled in the lobby, and Turning Point USA CEO Charlie Kirk is also expected to pay a visit. Both are Dhillon devotees.

Meanwhile, former Arkansas governor and potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate Asa Hutchinson is attending the meeting to pitch participants. Fellow candidate and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is not attending, but sent copies of his new book for distribution to members. Trump, who has already announced his candidacy for 2024, will not appear in person, but sent three of his staff.

The RNC’s 168 members are scheduled to vote on officers, including the chairman, on Friday. Closed-door, members-only candidate forums began Wednesday and will conclude Thursday.

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