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President Donald Trump will likely be spending election night at the White House rather than at his hotel in Washington, D.C. as previously planned.
An election night event at Trump International Hotel has reportedly been called off and the president will remain at the White House, a source familiar with the plans told The New York Times. Trump himself addressed the issue while speaking with reporters on Friday. Apparently, restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic may have been a factor in ruling out the venue in Washington D.C. where gatherings are limited to 50 people.
“We haven’t made a determination. We have certain rules and regulations. You know, Washington, D.C., is shut down. The mayor shut it down,” Trump told reporters outside the White House on Friday.
“So we have a hotel. I don’t know if it’s shut down, if you’re allowed to use it or not,” he added. “But I know the mayor has shut down Washington, D.C. And if that’s the case, we’ll probably stay here or pick another location. I think it’s crazy. Washington, D.C., is shut down. Can you imagine?”
(Source: White House/YouTube)
Fundraising emails sent by the Trump campaign last week touted the event in promoting a drawing in which the winner would be flown to the nation’s capital for a stay at the sold-out Trump Hotel where the party would be held as election results come in.
“November 3rd will go down in history as the night we won FOUR MORE YEARS,” the email read. “It will be absolutely EPIC, and the only thing that could make it better is having YOU there.”
— Curly sue (@moocowsue) October 25, 2020
Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser noted that she had not heard about the planned event at the hotel which the Washingtonian reported has been sold out for election night since January.
The president’s son Eric Trump confirmed to Fox News on Friday that the event may be moved as his father is likely to stay put at the White House on Tuesday.
“We are thinking of moving it actually over to the White House,” he said. “We are looking at that right now and it’s going to be a great night. It’s going to be a really, really beautiful night and I’m really excited.”
(Source: Fox News/YouTube)
The Trump Hotel falls under the supervision of the city’s health department which currently has a cap of 50 people at gatherings like the election night event would be. However, since the hotel has a liquor license, there is some flexibility on that.
Jared Powell, a spokesperson for DC’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, told the Washingtonian that larger events with up to half of the certificate of occupancy limit, are allowed as long as no one is standing at bars, and there is no live entertainment or dancing. Guests are required to stay seated, with no more than six people at a table.
In contrast, the White House can hold events however it wishes since it is located in a national park and deemed federal property.
“The president is allowed to hold events if he wants on the White House grounds,” NBC’s chief White House correspondent Hallie Jackson told Mediaite this week.
“I flashback to the end of August and the Republican National Convention, which was on the South Lawn in large part of the White House and in the Rose Garden. And there were various events at the White House. In a pandemic, that is allowed because the White House is federal property,” Jackson said. “And so the local jurisdictional regulations surrounding events during a pandemic don’t apply. The Trump Hotel is not on federal property. … So I’m kind of curious to see how that is going to play and how that relates.”
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