A donor to both former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis allegedly shot himself dead last week in an attempted murder-suicide.
Steve Alembik, 72, was pronounced dead after shooting himself and an unidentified woman in the parking lot of a BurgerFi outlet in Delray Beach on October 10, according to the Miami Herald.
The woman in her 40s, believed to be Alembik’s wife, survived after she ran into the burger chain with gunshot wounds to her arm and back, and was transported to a local hospital.
Alembik was known as a major GOP donor, giving more than $200,000 in political contributions over the past 20 years — including thousands to both Trump and DeSantis, according to the Herald.
But he came under fire in 2018, when he referred to former President Obama as a “f–ing Muslim N—” and claimed then-Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg “can’t die soon enough.”
Alembik later claimed he was not racist and regretted the tweet — but argued he should be allowed to use the “n-word.”
“So somebody like Chris Rock can get up on stage and use the word and there’s no problem? But some white guy says it and he’s a racist? Really?” he asked Politico.
“I grew up in New York in the ‘50s,” Alembik continued.
“We were the ki–s. They were the n—s. They were the goyim, and those were the sp–s.”
At the time of the tweet, Alembik — who was known for his flamboyant flag suit — donated to both then-Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who was running for Senate, and to DeSantis, who was seeking to take Scott’s place in the governor’s mansion.
Both Scott’s and DeSantis’ campaigns distanced themselves from Alembik in the aftermath, with Scott saying he donated the $1,100 he received from Alembik to Shriners Hospital.
A political action committee supporting DeSantis’ campaign also returned $11,000 it received from the self-employed data and email services provider, but the campaign said $4,000 given separately had already been spent and could not be refunded.
Still, the campaign denounced the tweet and said it would no longer take any money from Alembik, according to the Miami Herald.
But Desantis’ re-election campaign and a state PAC supporting the campaign, Friends of Ron DeSantis, would go on to take in more than $5,000 from Alembik in 2021 and 2022, according to records obtained by the Herald.
He worked with a promoter to push ticket sales for the event on Chinese social media platforms by indicating that attendees would have access to the former president, the Herald reports.
But Trump had never planned to attend the event, as the annual Governor’s Ball had been scheduled for the same night.
Alembik also faced backlash at the event for the lack of a seating chart and kosher food, according to the Herald.
But he tried to make the best of it, telling 400 people in the grand ballroom: “This president has had Israel’s back like no president has since the days of Ronald Reagan.”
He said that when he heard other “spineless” organizations were pulling their events from Mar-a-Lago, “I picked up the phone, I call Mar-a-Lago, they think I’m calling to cancel some other gala or some event, and I said no. I’d like to come here and show our support for the president of the United States.”
In total, Alembik raised more than $7,500 for committees supporting Trump.
A motive for the shooting is unclear, but those who knew Alembik said he had a history of mental health issues.
“Sadly, those of us who knew Steve understood that he struggled with his mental health at times,” Laura Loomer, a pro-Trump activist, wrote in what appears to be a now-deleted tweet, according to the Herald.
He had previously been arrested in December 2018 on domestic violence charges that were later dismissed via pre-trial diversion, the Herald reports.