Trump defends Hamptons fundraiser billionaire host

Donald Trump, Diana Zeldin, Lee Zeldin

President Donald Trump, right, greets Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., center, and his wife Diana Zeldin, left, after arriving at Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach, N.Y., Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. Trump is in the Hamptons to attend a pair of fundraisers before heading to his golf club in New Jersey for vacation. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

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SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) — President Donald Trump is attending a pair of fundraisers Friday in the Hamptons amid increased scrutiny of the high-dollar donors helping to finance his reelection campaign.

Among them is Stephen Ross, the real estate developer whose Related Companies owns Equinox and SoulCycle , who is hosting one of the events. He is also the majority owner of the Miami Dolphins.

Trump is praising Ross as a “great friend” and “very successful guy,” and is insisting the scrutiny will actually be positive. He says, “The controversy makes Steve Ross hotter.”

Trump said he is expecting to raise between $11 million and $12 million Friday afternoon. He’ll then be heading to New Jersey for summer vacation at his Bedminster golf course.

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