DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Donald Trump on Thursday backed out of a June speaking engagement at one of the Iowa Republican Party's premier annual fundraisers, prompting state GOP officials to scrub what was expected to be the state party's largest ever.
Trump was scheduled to headline the annual Lincoln Dinner on June 10 in Des Moines. More than 1,500 tickets had been sold for the event, which was moved from its original location to a more spacious downtown auditorium when it was announced that Trump had accepted the invitation from Iowa Republican Chairman Matt Strawn in March.
Trump at the time was considering a bid for the Republican presidential nomination, and his acceptance of the invitation fueled speculation that the New York billionaire and star of the television show "The Apprentice" would run.
Trump announced Monday he wouldn't run, but didn't say then if he'd honor the Iowa commitment.
State party officials said the event had been expected to net more than the roughly $200,000 raised in September when former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's headlined the Iowa GOP's annual fall fundraiser in Des Moines.
Iowa's Republican caucuses will begin the 2012 presidential nominating sequence. The caucuses are not a state-run election, but a party organizing event run by the state GOP.
State party officials noted their disappointment Thursday after learning Trump was cancelling his appearance, but they pointed to other fundraising efforts, including the Ames presidential straw poll scheduled for Aug. 13, as sources that will help finance the caucuses.
"In Iowa, your word is your bond," Iowa Republican Party Chairman Matt Strawn said in a brief written statement. "We are disappointed that Mr. Trump has chosen not to honor his commitment to Iowa Republicans."