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Melania Trump Event Called Off After Officials Question Fund-Raising

Melania Trump Event Called Off After Officials Question Fund-Raising

“Tulips and Topiaries will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience — an afternoon of sophisticated elegance set in elaborate, lush floral gardens designed to inspire giving, hope, possibility, and dreams,” a news release her office put out in January said. She later sent out a notice on her new social media account with Parler.

But Mrs. Trump, in a statement to The New York Times, has said she was not organizing the event, and was just a participant. (Ms. Moffet said the state had separately concluded that Mrs. Trump had not solicited funds in way that would require her to register.) She declined to address whether money raised at the planned event would be used to pay her personally, and instead criticized questions about the event.

“The media has created a narrative whereby I am trying to act in an illegal or unethical manner,” she wrote in a statement last month. “That portrayal is simply untrue and adversely affects the children I hope to support. Those who attack my initiatives and create the appearance of impropriety are quite literally dream killers. They have canceled the hopes and dreams of children by trying to cancel me.”

Both Melania Trump and former President Donald J. Trump have aggressively raised private money in the year since he left public office. Mr. Trump has published a $75 coffee-table book, gone on an arena tour, held an event with Whip Fundraising last December, and is behind a new social media company.

Even as Mr. Trump holds political rallies, he has carved out time for for-profit events. On March 19, he is speaking at an arena in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where “presidential” level tickets are selling for nearly $3,000.

Mrs. Trump held an online auction in January to sell a hat she had worn at the White House in 2018. More recently, she has started what she says will be a series of sales of unique virtual photographs — so-called NFTs — of her and Mr. Trump at White House events, a promotion she started on Presidents’ Day that will generate as much as $500,000 in revenues if all 10,000 of the items sell out. So far, her website suggests more than 6,100 of these items have been sold for $50 a piece.

Mr. Keltner on Thursday declined to provide a new date or location for the rescheduled event. The website that had offered tickets to the Naples event has been taken down, a move Mr. Keltner attributed in part to bots that he said had been attacking the site “nonstop.”

Shane Goldmacher contributed reporting.