Three things that don’t go together: Matt Gaetz. Trump Club. Palm Beach Kennel Club

Gaetz dog track
"I assume it may have to do with my advocacy for the greyhound amendment."

The Palm Beach Kennel Club has become a favored speaking venue for those close to President Donald Trump.

Roger Stone. Sean Spicer. Corey Lewandowski. All come to speak to Trump Club 45 PBC, a group of supporters enthusiastic for the President — and part-time Palm Beacher.

But there’s one Trump ally you won’t find there, despite his calling Florida home — U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz.

The Panhandle Republican and frequent Fox News guest certainly has a following in the halls of Mar-a-Lago and beyond. But he’s apparently persona non grata within the clubhouse thanks to his stance on certain “legislative issues.”

“I don’t know what those issues are but I assume it may have to do with my advocacy for the greyhound amendment overwhelmingly passed by Florida voters,” Gaetz said.

The Congressman last year threw his support behind the Protect Dogs-Yes on 13 campaign. Florida voters ultimately passed Amendment 13 with 69 percent of the vote statewide.

In Palm Beach County, the measure passed with closer to 74 percent.

Gaetz for years followed the line-up of Trump allies visiting Palm Beach. Earlier this month, he jumped at a chance to join the ranks.

Larry Snowden, vice president of Trump Club 45 PBC, last week bumped into Gaetz while both attended Trump’s re-election kickoff in Orlando. Snowden suggested Gaetz visit the club. The Congressman was thrilled.

“I am impressed by the tremendous organization they have,” Gaetz said. “It’s a somewhat famous place for key members of the Trump coalition to come and share their views.”

Since Gaetz has served at times as a surrogate for Trump policy, it seemed a natural fit.

But as Gaetz’s schedulers worked with the Club, it soon became clear — as they say — that that dog wouldn’t run. The Club itself objected. Which surprised Gaetz.

The Palm Beach Kennel Club remains under the control of Pat Rooney Sr. and Pat Rooney Jr. The younger acts as kennel club president, and also served alongside Gaetz in the Florida House.

And Gaetz has served in the U.S. House with former U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, another of Pat Rooney Sr.’s children.

“I consider myself close with the Rooney family,” Gaetz said. “Certainly, I don’t blame the Rooneys for the construct of dog racing.”

Representatives of the Palm Beach Kennel Club declined to comment for this story.

The last communication Gaetz’s office had with anyone regarding an appearance came last Thursday. That was with Trump Club 45 PBC, not the dog track.

“We began discussion of an alternate location,” Gaetz said, “but I don’t want to be a burden or imposition. I hope it’s just a miscommunication.”

The impacts of Amendment 13 continue to unfold. The constitutional amendment requires an end to dog racing in Florida by the start of 2021. The measure does allow other gambling at tracks, such as card games, to continue even after dog racing ends.

Most tracks, including the Palm Beach Kennel Club, will end racing sooner than the end of 2020. Indeed, this time next year, the track may be a venue more for pols than for racing dogs.

Whatever office Gaetz may seek in the future, he’s not ‘running’ at the Palm Beach Kennel Club.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Karma

    June 24, 2019 at 8:14 pm

    He’s a loose cannon who went against his party in support of Unconstitutional Amendment 13. Good for them by not allowing him to stink up their beautiful facility. When 13 is overturned, he will become even more of a laughing stock…

  • Steve Grabarczyk

    June 24, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    Support putting the place out of business and expect to be welcome? What kind of idiot are you Gaetz? Also committed fraud by saying HSUS needed $$$ for the dogs all the while knowing HSUS would NOT get one dog???? Thank God a judge will decide the fate of racing, not idiots that pushed lies like Gaetz,Lee, and his lying post daddy. Court and karma are going to get you. You ate nothing but a fraud, Matt.

    • No More Gaetz

      June 24, 2019 at 9:21 pm

      The Democrats can have him. He’s nothing more than an entitled, bullying drunk driver with no morals or ethics. A disgrace to the Republican Party of Florida and the US. Hope he’s voted out. Lara Trump can join him…

      • Elizabeth

        June 25, 2019 at 4:26 pm

        He is certainly no Democrat. They have more sense than that. He is entitled and spoiled with multiple cases of drunk driving in his past. And he is constantly trying to see which way the wind is blowing as he has no sense of morals or a true compass. Let Republicans keep him as he is already a great fit.

    • Lisa

      June 26, 2019 at 3:35 pm

      Shame on the State of Florida to believe these lying senators and shame on this Gartz another one that takes money from scammers ! Don’t know how they lay there head down at night but they have to meet there maker one day ! I blame each and every person that voted without realizing and educating themselves on amendment 13 . I can only say people in Florida you Must be the most gullible people ever . Oh do these people know that you can still race greyhounds just can’t bet on them WTH . Really

  • Crystal Carroll Jacobs

    June 24, 2019 at 8:59 pm

    Pat Rooney is my new hero!

  • cavin

    June 26, 2019 at 8:50 am

    You realize of course that it’s the dog ‘won’t hunt’, which is perfectly illustrative of what are the tenets of either parties’ minions- excuses.

  • Pat Boyd

    June 26, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    Birds of a feather! H$U$ supporter and supporter of the Grey2k lies and mistruths. Jacob Ogle isn’t worth the words he puts to paper. We know how crooked H$U$ is, we know how deceptive Grey2k is. Now we know how corrupt Ogle is.

    • sammie

      June 28, 2019 at 2:56 pm

      Calling HSUS corrupt over and over only works on feeble minded Repbulicans. And iT’s the only thing Matt ever did that makes sense.

Comments are closed.


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