Founding Beach Boys members Brian Wilson and Al Jardine spoke out against Mike Love's performance at President Donald Trump's high-priced campaign event in Newport Beach, California Sunday. Love, whose band performs as The Beach Boys, has shown support for Trump in the past and was among the musicians who visited Trump in 2018. Tickets for Sunday's event cost between $2,8000 per person and $150,000 per couple, The Los Angeles Times reports.
"We have absolutely nothing to do with the Trump benefit today in Newport Beach. Zero," Wilson and Jardine, who perform together under Wilson's name, said in a statement to Variety. "We didn’t even know about it and were very surprised to read about it in the Los Angeles Times." The two previously spoke out against Love's Beach Boys performing at the Safari Club International Convention, where Donald Trump Jr. was a keynote speaker, in February. "This organization supports trophy hunting, which both Al and I are emphatically opposed to," Wilson said at the time, even encouraging fans to sign a Change.org petition endorsing a boycott of Love's Beach Boys.
Trump's event at tech millionaire Palmer Luckey's Lido Isle mansion off Newport Beach surprised many since Trump is far behind Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in California. However, the high-priced event helped Trump raise much-needed funds for his campaign. "Everyone assumes he’s going to go to battleground states. No one really thinks about how Orange County, California, is an ATM machine," former state Republican official Jon Fleishman told the Los Angeles Times.
Love was the headlining act, with former Doobie Brothers guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter and former U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher also performing. "It was a good party, lots of oldies," former U.S. Rep. Darrel Issa told the Times. Issa previously represented California's 49th House district and is now running for the 50th district's seat.
Love was among the musicians who traveled to the White House to meet Trump when he signed the Music Modernization Act in October 2018. His Beach Boys also headlined one of Trump's inauguration balls. In 2017, he defended his support of Trump, telling Uncut he did not have "anything negative" to say about Trump and called performing on his inauguration day a "moving experience."
"I understand there are so many factions and fractious things going on – the chips will fall where they may," Love said at the time. "But Donald Trump has never been anything but kind to us. We have known him for many a year. We’ve performed at some of his venues at fundraisers and so on.”
The current touring iteration of The Beach Boys includes Love and Bruce Johnston, who joined the group in 1965. Love won a court battle to tour with the group's name in 1998. Wilson and Jardine have not performed with Love and Johnston since the one-off 2012 reunion tour. Love, Wilson and Jardine founded the Beach Boys with Wilson's late brothers Dennis and Carl in 1961.