Pompeo’s lineup of parties in the next three weeks comes as the Trump administration’s own health experts are imploring Americans to limit travel and avoid large gatherings amid a pandemic that has killed more than 270,000 Americans and infected nearly 14 million across the United States.
A copy of one invitation, obtained by The Washington Post, welcomes guests to a Dec. 15 event titled “Diplomacy at Home for the Holidays” in the Benjamin Franklin Room, the department’s flagship reception space, which features cut-glass chandeliers and towering Corinthian columns. Invitations have already gone out to 900 people, said two U.S. officials familiar with the planning, raising concerns about a potential superspreader event.
“I’m flabbergasted,” said Ian Lipkin, director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University. “An indoor event of this kind is dangerous on so many levels.”