This Friday, March 11, 2016, photo, shows the Mar-A-Lago Club, owned by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, in Palm Beach, Fla. Trump has been trying for two decades through the Federal Aviation Administration and the courts to force departing airliners from Palm Beach International Airport to turn before reaching the historic and exclusive 17-acre estate, which is 2.5 miles east of the airport's primary runway. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Comped at Mar-a-Lago

The other day I wrote a piece and one paragraph has gotten the most attention. It is this one.

What does it profit a man to gain the White House and lose his soul? The Republicans are working hard to find out. I’d rather sleep well at night knowing the temptation was offered. The money was there. The free trips to Mar-a-Lago came up. The career acceleration was possible. And I turned it all down putting everything at risk because it was the right thing to do.

I thought I had written about this before. I am sure I have. My radio producer thinks I might have only talked about it on my radio show, but I was sure I had written about it and just can’t find the links. Let me walk you through this as best I can.

Several years ago, while at RedState, Regnery Publishing published a book “written” by Donald Trump. RedState and Regnery are sister entities and at the time were within Eagle Publishing, Inc. The CEO of Eagle suggested I fly up to New York and do a live-stream interview with Trump.

We found a sponsor to cover some costs, I went to Trump’s office, and we hit it off. After the interview we talked for a while. He had just traded in the 727 for a 757. Trump asked if I played golf. I said I did badly. He suggested Christy (my wife) and I come down to Mar-a-Lago.

I told him every time I’d been to Palm Beach the weather had been terrible. He assured me it was beautiful and I should come down. I just assumed he was being polite.

But after I left and for the next six months, on several occasions I again got invited to head down to Mar-a-Lago. Trust me, I was really flattered. I may have been at CNN, but I really wasn’t much of anybody at the time. And here’s Donald Trump inviting my wife and me to Mar-a-Lago.

I wanted to go. I was pretty naive about it. But my wife insisted he had to want my soul or something. So she insisted I decline and I declined all the invitations, which stopped happening.

Likewise, during the course of the post-July 2015 campaign season, I cannot tell you the number of people who suggested it would be for my long term career interests to get on the Trump bandwagon. I was also encouraged to just keep my mouth shut if I knew what was good for me. A couple of other odd and inappropriate things happened, but those are things I prefer not to speak about publicly.

All these things, including those about which I should not speak publicly, shape my opinion that if it happened to me, it had to happen to people even more prominent than me. Likewise, I keep hearing rumors and have since before he formally announced he was running, that Trump was comping people at properties, giving people access to golf courses, etc.

I don’t know that any of this is true. But I do know what happened to me.

Thankfully, I work for a brilliant radio company and they have been very nervous, but have encouraged me the whole time to say what I think and not follow along and not to worry about the future. I also have a beautiful, wonderful wife who is way smarter than me.

I have to wonder, though, about some of Trump’s long time cheerleaders in the media.

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Erick Erickson

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