Trump to hold Election Night party in White House with up to 400 guests, report says

The president is reportedly planning a large party indoors in the East Room, undercutting coronavirus restrictions in the capital

Louise Hall
Monday 02 November 2020 16:04 GMT
Trump predicts 'great red wave' of Republican votes on election night
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Donald Trump is set to hold his Election Night party at the White House with around 400 people expected to be invited, according to a report by The New York Times.

According to two officials familiar with discussions, the president is planning to host a large party indoors in the East Room, undercutting coronavirus restrictions in the city, the newspaper said.

The president was reportedly forced to move the initial venue chosen by the campaign, the Trump Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, in part due to Covid restrictions in DC that limits gatherings to 50 people.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to The Independent’s request for comment. The White House did not respond to request for comment.

Mr Trump said on Friday that he was considering hosting an Election Night gathering at the White House instead of his hotel in DC, The Hill reported.

Speaking outside the White House on Friday before departing for rallies scheduled in the final run-up to 3 November, the president noted the county’s coronavirus restrictions as an obstacle to the original event.

“We have a hotel. I don’t know if you’re allowed to use it or not, but I know the mayor has shut down Washington, DC and if that is the case we will probably stay here or pick another location,” Mr Trump said.

"We're thinking about moving it, actually, over to the White House. We are looking at that right now. it's going to be a great night,” the president’s son, Eric Trump, said during an appearance on Fox News.

As the White House is a federal property the president has previously hosted large crowds at the venue for official events, despite the ongoing pandemic.

A White House ceremony held in October where Mr Trump named Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee for the vacancy on the Supreme Court, was later dubbed a “superspreader” event.

Following the Rose Garden ceremony, during which most were seen without masks and disregarding social distancing guidance, more than 30 people linked to the White House tested positive for the disease.

Just under a week later it was confirmed that both Mr Trump and first lady Melania had tested positive for coronavirus.

Holding the election celebrations at the White House could also raise questions about whether the president is violating the Hatch Act which prohibits federal employees from engaging in any part of a political campaign while serving in government.

The president has been accused of violating the regulation on a number of occasions, most notably when he delivered his presidential nomination speech during the virtual Republican National Convention (RNC) from the White House.

While the president and vice president are exempt from violating the act, critics questioned whether the speech could have been televised without help from federal workers.

At the time of the convention, White House spokesperson Judd Deere assured The New York Times that the administration would be careful to abide by the regulations during the event.

“RNC convention events will be planned and executed, at whatever the venue, by the Trump campaign and RNC,” he said. “Any government employees who may participate will do so in compliance with the Hatch Act.”

With the election just days away, the RealClear Politics National polling average has Joe Biden leading Mr Trump by 7.2 percentage points.

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