Photo courtesy Toni Holt Kramer

First, Donald Trump’s candidacy for president tore apart the Republican party. Now it has thrust Trumpettes USA, Palm Beach’s premier organization for talking about Donald Trump while sipping white sangria, into a brutal power struggle over naming rights with Trumpettes Global, a Palm Beach-based Trump “support organization.” Does the world need two of these? Probably not. And yet, here we are.

Last time we checked in with Toni Holt Kramer, resident of Palm Beach, Florida and one of the two people claiming to be the founder of women’s organizations calling themselves “The Trumpettes,” she confirmed that she had made a $150 donation to Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president, in December. “It was a token contribution. Just something that was a nice thing to do,” she told me over the phone. And while Kramer still considers Clinton a friend, she doesn’t believe the former secretary of state would make as good a president as Trump. “There’s business, and there’s friendship, and never the twain—well, sometimes the twain can’t meet,” she said. “I love my country. I love my country more than I love my girlfriends.”

According to Kramer, the Trumpettes have a standard origin story: The idea of gathering friends to support Trump’s candidacy came to her at an Animal Humane Association fundraiser in September. “We don’t want eight more years of not knowing where we stand,” Kramer said. “I see this country as really important. I see it like a business.”

Kramer’s Trumpettes aren’t a fundraising group, or even a get-out-the-vote group: Civil conversation, she believes, is the best way to convince an undecided voter that they should vote for Trump. “We just want people to talk,” she said. “Women are the best networkers. All we do is talk!”

“Let’s see, you want to know what I think about Cruz and Kasich?” Kramer asked, unprompted. “If you put the both of them together they still don’t make one Donald Trump.” Later, lamenting high unemployment rates, she said, “It’s not just the dumbing down of America, it’s the poor-ing down of America.”

Kramer said she and Clinton have known each other for almost 15 years—they met, apparently, at the last party the Clintons threw at the White House before Bill left office. (The Clinton campaign did not respond to a request for comment.) The original title for Kramer’s self-published memoir was Hollywood, Hillary & Me; now, it is My Men, My Mother & Me. “Hillary really pushed me to write the book,” Kramer said. “She told me, ‘Women will listen to you.’ And women do listen to me. I was on television for 30 years. Good Morning this, Good Morning that. I tell women the truth. I tell them what will help them.”

As I was speaking to Kramer on Tuesday evening, I received an email from a second person claiming to be the creator, founder, and operations officer of the Trumpettes organization. Kramer’s organization wasn’t even the real version of the Trumpettes, he explained. “The Trumpettes is based in Palm Beach, Florida and is a national TRUMP SUPPORT organization in all 50 states with 5000 + members. Toni Kramer had NO ROLL in founding ,developing, participating in or organizing the Trumpettes,” Ralph Branscomb, who works for a nuclear consulting firm, wrote to me. “She was a member for 3 months, but she was asked to leave the group. She then unsuccessfully attempted to hi-jack the group name and charter … LOL LOL LOL.”

Shortly after Trump announced his candidacy, Branscomb started “Palm Beach for Trump.” Some of the women involved in that group wanted to help raise Trump’s favorability ratings with women, so Branscomb helped them set up a website. (According to Whois, Branscomb’s site,, was registered on October 17, 2015; Kramer’s site, was registered on March 30, 2016.) “We’ve got 5,000 members and 10 regional directors,” he told me over the phone. “I’ve probably put fourteen to fifteen hundred man hours of my personal time into this.” Everyone is involved on a volunteer basis: “Nobody’s getting paid.”

In late December 2015, he said, he got a call from Kramer. “She and her friends wanted to jump on the band wagon. They’re all members at Mar-a-Lago, but they’re not so well-liked. They just wanted to get in with Donald.” (Kramer confirmed that she is a member at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, as are two of her three purported co-founders.) “It’s the Palm Beach gang,” said Boscomb, “They married rich old guys, they eat lunch, and they tell each other how great they are.”

“Toni just wanted to promote her book,” Branscomb said. “She just wanted to use it for her own gratifications.”

I asked Kramer whether there was any truth to these allegations. “I don’t know if my attorney would let me answer that,” she said, before answering anyway. “I’m not the one who has to defend myself. There’s nothing to defend. I don’t have time for that.” She continued: “I remember when Trump announced. I was standing on board a ship, a cruise, a European cruise. I remember we all said to each other, ‘This is a dream come true.’”

Contrary to what he told me, Kramer said that Branscomb approached her with an offer to build a website, having heard—somehow; she couldn’t recall—about her Trumpettes group. “I gave him my blessing. I think it’s wonderful. Who cares? Isn’t this about working our fannies off to get Trump in the White House? I’m thrilled that anyone would work to get Trump elected. I don’t know what’s wrong with him, what his problem is. I wish him well. God bless him. I’m a little offended that you would make me answer these questions, you know. I do not like to be challenged,” Kramer said. “I mean, does he have a picture with Trump?”