The Slatest

Top Democrats Missed Women’s Marches to Attend Luxury Donor Retreat Thrown by Clinton Henchman

Brock in a Sept. 15, 2015, TV appearance.



Saturday was probably the best day for progressives in the United States since the last time Barack Obama was elected. Roughly 3 million(!) people joined women’s marches across the country in an unexpectedly enormous demonstration of enthusiasm (and, perhaps more crucially, organization). And yet a number of the most influential figures in Democratic politics—the people who are ostensibly responsible for translating this energy into political and electoral action—missed the marches completely because they were at a retreat for bajillionaire donors at something called the “Turnberry Isle” luxury resort near Miami.


The gathering was hosted by David Brock, the onetime Clinton-hating right-wing quasi-journalist goon who switched sides and, during the latest election cycle, ran a number of pro-Hillary super PACs and advocacy groups. (Hat tip to the Observer for its colorfully accurate description of Brock as a “henchman.”) Among the attendees at Brock’s event, via a program helpfully snagged by the New Republic:


  • Five of the candidates running for the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee, including Keith Ellison and Thomas Perez. (The one candidate who marched instead of attending the retreat was South Bend, Indiana, mayor and Slate contributor Pete Buttigieg. Attaboy, Mayor Pete!)
  • Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, AFL-CIO political director Michael Podhorzer, and the presidents of EMILY’s List, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the Democracy Alliance. (Richards, NARAL president Ilyse Hogue, and EMILY’s List president Stephanie Shriock were at retreat events on Friday but also spoke at the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday. Democracy Alliance president Gara LaMarche attended both the Miami retreat and the D.C. march as well.)*
  • More than 120” major Democratic donors. (The event was also a fundraiser for Brock’s organizations.)
  • James Carville
  • Rahm Emanuel
  • Jennifer Granholm
  • Former Joe Biden chief of staff Ron Klain
  • New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman
  • Keith Olbermann, for some reason
  • Harold Ford Jr., who was last seen in electoral politics losing a 2006 Senate race, has worked on Wall Street ever since, and who somehow nonetheless appeared on a panel called “Democratic Messaging That Can Work.”


In case you were wondering, yes, the phrase “thought leader” did appear in the program.

The Washington Free Beacon, meanwhile, wrote that reporters who attended the event were only allowed into three of its events and were asked not to talk to any of the donors or speakers present.

Turnberry Isle’s website notes that its rooms feature 47-inch flat-screen TVs and “spacious marble bathrooms” that are appointed with “luxury skin and hair care products.”

*Correction, Jan. 23, 2017: This post originally misstated that Cecile Richards, EMILY’s List president Stephanie Schriock, NARAL president Ilyse Hogue, and Democracy Alliance president Gara LaMarche were not at the Women’s March in Washington. It also misspelled Cecile Richards’ last name. And Pete Buttigieg is the current, not former, mayor of South Bend.