A once-prominent but controversial conservative activist who lived in South Florida and financially supported both former President Donald Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis, among other Republicans, has apparently died at his own hand.
Steve Alembik, 72, is alleged to have attempted a murder-suicide when he shot his wife and then turned the gun on himself last week, according to the New York Post.
He had been a center of controversy for years due to racial slurs he used against former President Barack Obama in 2018, which prompted some of the politicians he supported to distance themselves from him.
BocaNewsNow reported last week that the identity of Alembik as the man who shot and killed himself in the parking lot of a BurgerFi restaurant in West Delray Beach was confirmed by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.
Police had rushed to the scene following reports of a shooting and found Alembik dead in his vehicle. A woman that he had shot twice, identified by others as his wife, survived the attempted murder by entering the restaurant, after which she was transported to a nearby hospital and was listed at that time in critical condition with gunshot wounds to her arm and back.
Laura Loomer, a controversial right-wing political figure in her own right, initially reacted to Alembik's death in a since-deleted social media post that said, "Sadly, those of us who knew Steve understood that he struggled with his mental health at times, which he ultimately succumbed to when he died this week, but he always put on a smile for those around him and never complained."
The Post noted that Alembik, a "self-employed data and email services provider," had contributed more than $200,000 over the past 20 years to various Republican politicians, including their campaigns and supportive political action committees.
He drew sharp criticism in 2018 when, among other controversial social media posts, he used the "N"-word as a descriptor for former President Obama, which prompted some of the candidates he supported -- including Florida's then-Gov. Rick Scott in his Senate campaign and then-Rep. Ron DeSantis in his gubernatorial campaign -- to publicly denounce Alembik and give back or donate to others the funds he had given to them.
Indeed, Scott's campaign donated the $1,100 received from Alembik to the Shriner's Hospital while a pro-DeSantis PAC returned $11,000 to Alembik while the DeSantis campaign distanced itself from him but was unable to return a $4,000 contribution that had already been spent.
However, the Miami Herald reported that despite the DeSantis campaign vowing at that time to never accept any future donations from Alembik, records show that both the governor's re-election campaign and a supportive PAC received a combined $5,000 from him in 2021 and 2022.
According to a Politico report at the time Alembik was in hot water over his use of the "N"-word to describe Obama, he deleted the post, seemed to apologize for what he had said, and expressed understanding about why the Republican candidates he supported had distanced themselves from him.
He did, however, call out the double standard that has evolved over time with regard to certain racial slurs that can be said by some people but not others, or that once were commonplace but now were forbidden.
In addition to his racial remark about Obama, the Post noted that Alembik had also courted controversy with comments about his desire to see the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg die as well as his openly expressed support for then-President Trump in the wake of the media freakout over Trump's deliberately misconstrued "fine people" remark about protesters on both sides of the 2017 Charlottesville incident.
While all sorts of charities abandoned Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort as a site for their events, Alembik purposefully relocated a pro-Israel event to that location -- though there were a host of additional problems, such as Trump himself not being in attendance despite Alembik promoting otherwise, as well as a lack of a seating chart and kosher food for Jewish attendees