Trump showed off 2 convicted and charged war criminals at a secretive Republican fundraiser in Florida, report says

ama@businessinsider.com (Alexandra Ma)
President Donald Trump smiles during a luncheon with members of the United Nations Security Council in the Cabinet Room at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Associated Press

  • President Donald Trump brought on stage one convicted and one accused war criminal at a highly secretive GOP fundraiser in Florida on Saturday night, the Miami Herald reported.
  • The president debuted former US Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance and former US Army Maj. Mathew Golsteyn at the Statesman's Dinner in Aventura, the Herald said.
  • The event was highly secretive, with attendees having to store their cellphones in locked cases before entering, and reporters not allowed in, the Herald reported.
  • Lorance was convicted of ordering soldiers to engage three unarmed Afghan men and was sentenced to 19 years in prison, while Golsteyn was accused of killing an unarmed Afghan man in 2010.
  • Trump granted clemency to both their cases last month.
  • The Daily Beast reported two weeks ago that Trump had been mulling bringing Lorance, Golsteyn, and Navy SEAL Chief Edward Gallagher on the 2020 campaign trail with him.
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President Donald Trump showed off two pardoned US troops at a highly secretive Republican fundraising event in Aventura, Florida on Saturday night, the Miami Herald reported.

He brought on stage former US Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance and former US Army Maj. Mathew Golsteyn during his hour-long speech at the state Republican Party's annual Statesman's Dinner, the Herald reported, calling the move "unusual."

Lorance was convicted of ordering soldiers to engage three unarmed Afghan men and was sentenced to 19 years in prison, while Golsteyn was accused of killing an unarmed Afghan man in 2010.

Trump pardoned both men last month by granting clemency to both their cases. Golsteyn had been awaiting trial at the time.

matthew golsteyn fox and friends fox news

Fox News

This year's Statesman's Dinner was particularly secretive, with attendees having to check their cellphones into individual locked cases before entering the event at the JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa, which is in Aventura, the Herald reported. The dinner was also closed to reporters.

The dinner raised a total of $3.5 million for the state's Republican Party, the Herald said.

During his speech, which lasted more than an hour, the president also did impressions of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and GOP Rep. Jim Jordan — two key lawmakers involved in the impeachment investigation — and brought on stage son-in-law Jared Kushner, the Herald reported.

Attendees told the newspaper Trump was "hilarious" and "in rare form."

Clint Lorance

Mark Lennihan/AP

The debut of Lorance and Golsteyn at the fundraiser comes two weeks after The Daily Beast reported that Trump was considering having pardoned US troops join him on the 2020 campaign trail.

The Beast cited two unnamed sources saying they overheard Trump discussing appearances by Lorance, Golsteyn, and Navy SEAL Chief Edward Gallagher, who was convicted of posing with a corpse of a dead ISIS fighter.

Trump in November told the Navy to reverse its decision to demote Gallagher, against the advice of military officials, cause controversy and ultimately forced the resignation of Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer.

JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa

JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa/YouTube

The fundraiser comes as Trump faces increasing risk of getting impeached. Pelosi announced last week that the House would move forward with articles of impeachment against the president. The White House on Friday refused to take part in impeachment hearings.

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