Steve Alembik, a controversial Republican donor known for his flamboyant flag suit, died last week in an apparent murder-suicide attempt. The 72-year-old was reportedly pronounced dead in the parking lot of a BurgerFi outlet in Delray Beach, Florida, after shooting himself and an unidentified woman. The woman involved, believed to be Alembik’s wife, survived and was hospitalized with gunshot wounds to her arm and back.
Alembik was a major GOP donor, giving over $200,000 in political contributions over the past 20 years. He had donated to prominent Republicans, including former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. However, he came under fire in 2018 when he referred to former President Barack Obama as a “f–ing Muslim N–” and made racist remarks about former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. He later claimed he regretted the tweet but defended his use of the racial slur.
Despite the controversy, Alembik continued to donate to Republican campaigns. In 2018, he donated to DeSantis’s campaign and a state PAC supporting it. The campaign and PAC later distanced themselves from Alembik, with the PAC returning the $11,000 it had received. However, DeSantis’s re-election campaign and another state PAC supporting him accepted over $5,000 from Alembik in 2021 and 2022.
In 2017, Alembik made headlines after moving a charity gala for his pro-Israel nonprofit, Truth About Israel, to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. The move came after several mainstream charities pulled their events from the venue due to Trump’s remarks after the Charlottesville riots. Alembik worked with a promoter to push ticket sales on Chinese social media platforms, claiming that attendees would have access to the former president. However, Trump had never planned to attend the event.
According to reports, Alembik faced backlash at the event for issues such as the lack of a seating chart and kosher food. But he tried to make the best of it by praising Trump’s support for Israel. In total, Alembik raised over $7,500 for committees supporting Trump.
Alembik’s death has brought attention back to his controversial past and raised questions about his contributions to political campaigns. Some have criticized DeSantis’s campaign for accepting money from Alembik despite his history of making racist remarks. The BurgerFi shooting is still under investigation, but the tragic incident has once again put a spotlight on the role of money in politics and the responsibility of candidates to thoroughly vet their donors.