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Donald Trump: Fundraiser Controversy Makes Dolphins' Stephen Ross 'Hotter'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 9, 2019

President Donald Trump talks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019, in Washington, as he prepares to leave Washington for his annual August holiday at his New Jersey golf club.  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Evan Vucci/Associated Press

United States President Donald Trump said Friday the controversy created by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross holding a fundraiser for him will help Ross in the long run.

"I think it just makes Steve much hotter," Trump told reporters. "I didn't speak to him yet, I'll see him in a little while. The controversy makes Steve Ross hotter. He'll figure that out in about a week."

Ross is a real estate developer with an estimated net worth of $7.7 billion, according to Forbes. He's also a stakeholder in Equinox Fitness, which is a majority shareholder in SoulCycle. Following news of Ross' fundraiser for Trump, there were calls on social media for people to boycott SoulCycle, per Brian Ries of CNN.

Trump went on to praise Ross but noted they don't always see eye to eye politically:

"Stephen Ross is a great friend of mine, he's a very successful guy. We were competitors but friends in real estate in New York in the old days. He's a great guy. He is—by the way, I think he's probably more inclined to be a liberal, if you want to know the truth. But he likes me, he respects me. We're doing a fundraiser there, we're doing another fundraiser with another friend of mine. And I understand the fundraiser was totally sold out, and it's very successful."

The Dolphins owner released a statement about his decision Wednesday.

"I always have been an active participant in the democratic process," Ross said. "While some prefer to sit outside of the process and criticize, I prefer to engage directly and support the things I deeply care about."

Miami wide receiver Kenny Stills, one of the NFL players who've knelt during the U.S. national anthem to protest racial injustice, criticized the fundraiser:

Kenny Stills @KSTiLLS

🤔 You can’t have a non profit with this mission statement then open your doors to Trump. https://t.co/sNBWfEXvLn https://t.co/nNkRf2wJep

The Dolphins kicked off the preseason with a 34-27 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night.