BY MONIVETTE CORDEIRO
ORLANDO — A Publix heiress contributed about $300,000 to a rally held by former President Donald Trump that preceded the Jan. 6 riot on the U.S. Capitol, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Julie Jenkins Fancelli, the daughter of Publix founder George W. Jenkins, provided the “lion’s share” of funding for the $500,000 rally in Washington’s Ellipse that was organized by Trump supporters, including Alex Jones, a far-right radio host for InfoWars and conspiracy theorist, the Journal reports.
At the rally, Trump told his supporters to march and “fight like hell” before a mob swarmed the Capitol building in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s presidential victory. Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives led the effort to impeach Trump on a charge of inciting violent insurrectionists.
In a statement, Publix Super Markets said it could not comment on Fancelli’s actions.
“Mrs. Fancelli is not an employee of Publix Super Markets, and is neither involved in our business operations, nor does she represent the company in any way,” said Maria Brous, a spokeswoman for the grocery store chain.
“…The violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6 was a national tragedy. The deplorable actions that occurred that day do not represent the values, work or opinions of Publix Super Markets.”
Fancelli donated close to $1 million to the Trump campaign and Republican Party in 2020, according to the Journal. Trump fundraising official Caroline Wren, who helped coordinate the rally, was tapped by the Publix heiress to “organize and fund an event on her behalf,” the newspaper said.
Fancelli, who has a home in Lakeland, also served as president of her father’s charity, the George Jenkins Foundation, according to 2019 tax filings. She was not compensated.
Publix faced scrutiny earlier this month after The Miami New Times reported the grocery store chain gave $100,000 to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ political committee starting in December. DeSantis later announced the state would partner with Publix to being offering COVID-19 vaccinations.
DeSantis and Publix have denied the partnership had any connection to the political donations.