Update (3/17/2020): The Queens Daily Eagle reported that the Queens Village Republican Club has canceled their 145th annual Lincoln Dinner following New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's directive that all restaurants and entertainment establishments close amid coronavirus concerns.
Former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon, who has been filling his time in recent days as a podcast host spreading unsubstantiated theories about the origins of the novel coronavirus at the behest of his billionaire benefactor, will appear at a local Republican club event over the weekend in New York.
Bannon is listed as a keynote speaker at the Queens Village Republican Club’s 145th anniversary Lincoln Dinner on March 22, alongside racist British blogger Katie Hopkins. The Queens Village Republican Club’s Facebook page continues to promote the event, and tickets are still available for purchase online via the organization’s website. Interested parties also have the option to purchase access to an “exclusive VIP Meet & Greet with Steve Bannon and Katie Hopkins.” According to the website of the venue where this event is listed as taking place, the space features five different event halls that can accommodate between 60 and 800 people.
Hopkins arrived in New York City over the weekend per her social media. She recently suggested to her followers that they have parties to pass around the coronavirus in order to “build their immunity.” Hopkins’ international voyage also belies her March 9 column in which she celebrated COVID-19 as meaning that “borders are beautiful again.” In the same column, she also said the virus is “great news for sane people such as myself who will keep traveling regardless and may now get to enjoy their own armrest or their first choice of meal.”
On March 12, Bannon campaigned on behalf of the Columbiana County Republican Party of Ohio via Facebook Live after the group’s annual Lincoln dinner was canceled due to concerns regarding the pandemic. During the Facebook Live appearance, Bannon said Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine “obviously did the right thing” when he announced a ban of gatherings of more than 100 in the state. Bannon praised Trump’s travel ban from China and said that while there have been problems with testing, “those problems have been solved.”
Bannon’s GOP campaign schedule may also violate campaign finance laws. ProPublica recently reported that in 2018, Bannon used his Chinese billionaire benefactor Guo Wengui’s private plane to attend Republican fundraisers, which “could run afoul of a campaign finance law that bars foreign money from U.S. elections, according to campaign finance experts, though it depends on several factors that are not known.”
Update (4:30 p.m.): Added link to The Queens Daily Eagle, which first reported this on March 9.