The Trump campaign was planning to hold an Election Night party at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday night. Now it looks like he will celebrate at the White House instead of the hotel. The 2020 presidential campaigns of both candidates have made lots of allowances for the coronavirus and this is the latest one.
Though the city of Washington, D.C. isn’t shut down completely, restaurants are capped at 50% capacity, and gatherings are limited to 50 people. That means a Trump campaign celebration would be a far cry from the 2016 victory party in New York City. Officially, the decision of the party’s location hasn’t been announced but the writing is on the wall.
“We haven’t made a determination. We have certain rules and regulations, you know, Washington, DC, is shut down,” he told reporters on his way to a trio of rallies in the swing states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
The nation’s capital is not shut down but indoor dining is only allowed at 50 percent capacity and gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited — spiking the Trump campaign’s plans to have a celebration at Trump International Hotel.
“We have a hotel. I don’t know if it’s shut down, if you’re allowed to use it or not, but I know the mayor has shut down Washington, DC,” Trump continued.
Last weekend the Trump campaign began sending out fundraising emails offering donors the opportunity to enter a drawing “to join Team Trump at the Election Night Party in my favorite hotel,” in Washington.
“November 3rd will go down in history as the night we won FOUR MORE YEARS. It will be absolutely EPIC, and the only thing that could make it better is having YOU there,” Trump said in a fundraising solicitation.
The Washington hotel, which is blocks from the White House, has been sold out for weeks for Election Day as well as the days before and after Nov. 3. A basic room then is going for $1,200 a night, nearly triple the $476 room rate on Monday.
Watchdog groups were quick to jump on the use of a Trump property as the party venue. Critics have claimed throughout Trump’s four years in the White House that he and his family have enriched themselves due to his position.
Critics see it as one more reminder of how the president has used his office to personally profit as foreign leaders, conservative supporters and administration officials use the lobby of Washington’s Trump International Hotel as an unofficial clubhouse for the Trump presidency.
Since 2017, the president and Republican National Committee have held several fundraisers at the president’s Washington hotel in the historic Old Post Office building, which the president’s company leases from the federal government.
Over the course of his presidency, the Trump campaign, the RNC and their joint-fundraising committees have spent over $7.4 million at Trump-branded properties.
“Donald Trump has spent his entire presidency funneling taxpayer, campaign, special interest and foreign government money into the business that he still owns,” said Donald Sherman, deputy director of the nonprofit government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “In some ways, election night is going to be the pinnacle of his self dealing.”
I won’t hold my breath for such concern about the intersection of political access and money if Biden wins the election. The press and others will be in another deep slumber as they were during the Obama-Biden years.
The Trump campaign can host as many guests as they want at the White House. Given the choice, I imagine supporters would relish the chance to go to the White House to celebrate. When Mayor Bowser heard about the plans to hold the party at the hotel, she was quick to voice her disapproval. “We will be in touch with our licensee, which is the hotel. You can believe that you can go to the White House and get COVID and that nothing’s going to happen to you. Perhaps,” Bowser said. “Or you can die from it.”
The White House was last used for Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s swearing-in ceremony. That was criticized for both the optics of using the White House for effect and for a large number of people in attendance in the Rose Garden. Never mind that it is standard for presidents to use the White House to host the swearing-in of their Supreme Court nominee. The Orange Man is bad, no matter what, and he must be criticized.
There has been no talk of an Election Night party for Joe Biden and his campaign yet. The speculation is that it will be close to his home. That makes sense since he has been so hesitant to leave home throughout the entire campaign.
Three more days until Election Day. We likely won’t have the results fully reported for days after November 3. Eric Trump tweeted out the Trump family’s plans for campaigning up until Election Day. They aren’t leaving anything on the field.