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Maryland Democrats urge state GOP to donate money raised by Trump to charity reuniting migrant families

Erin Cox
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

The Maryland Democratic Party on Friday urged the state GOP to donate $100,000 raised by President Donald J. Trump at a 2015 fundraiser to a nonprofit that reunites migrant families separated at the southwest border.

The Democrats called the donations to the Maryland Republican Party from the three-year-old event “tainted” after the recent uproar about the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy that has been separating children from parents as families tried to cross the border illegally. Dozens of those children are being held in Maryland.

President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday reversing that policy, which in just a few weeks had led to 2,300 children being separated from their families. It was not immediately clear how or when families would be reunited.

As a presidential candidate, Trump headlined the Maryland Republican Party’s annual fundraiser in 2015, shortly after he announced his campaign.

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan skipped the fundraiser that year because of his health; it was held shortly after he announced he had been diagnosed with cancer.

Republican Party Chairman Dirk Haire declined to comment on the Democratic Party’s demands.

Democratic Party Chair Kathleen Matthews said in a statement that “Donald Trump’s hateful anti-immigrant policies have hit rock bottom” and encouraged Hogan to convince the state GOP to give the money to the Texas-based nonprofit Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, known as RAICES. The group has raised over $15 million to help migrant families, according to news reports.

The governor has sought to distance himself for more than two years, at times stirring discontent in his own party.

Doug Mayer, a spokesman for Hogan’s campaign, said other Democrats — most notably, Comptroller Peter Franchot and Treasurer Nancy Kopp — had praised the Republican governor’s decision this week to recall Maryland National Guard troops from the border in protest of the family separation policy.

“If Kathleen Matthews was more interested in helping these children than in scoring cheap political points, she would be joining with her fellow Democrats Comptroller Franchot and Treasurer Kopp in praising the governor’s decisive action,” Mayer said. “In challenging times, some people lead and others send press releases — there is no doubt that Marylanders will see through this pathetic ploy.”

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