The ongoing coronavirus pandemic may be ravaging the country with thousands of deaths each day, but that doesn't seem to be stopping President Donald Trump from hosting some truly epic holiday parties. Now that this hellish year is finally coming to an end, many Americans are wondering: Where is Trump spending New Year's Eve 2020? His original reported plans were almost too ironic.
As many Americans struggle to make ends meet and the U.S. averages over 2,000 COVID-19 deaths per day as of Dec. 29, the president was reportedly keeping himself busy by preparing for his annual New Year's Eve gala, according to The Palm Beach Post. The gala is typically held at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort with hundreds of guests in attendance, and usually includes an eclectic assortment of the ultra-rich and famous. In the past, his swanky year-end celebrations have drawn in celebrities like Sylvester Stallone, Woody Allen, Rod Stewart, Serena Williams, Martha Stewart, Robert Kraft, and more. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), large indoor gatherings without the proper usage of masks or social distancing carry a significantly higher risk for transmitting the virus, and the public health authority has advised Americans not to travel or gather outside their immediate households for the holidays. The White House did not respond to Elite Daily's request for comment on whether Trump would host the gala this year, how long the potential guest list would be, or what safety precautions might be in place.
But the plans appeared to be shaken up on New Year's Eve. On Dec. 31, the Trumps flew back to the White House, apparently cutting their holiday short and skipping the big Mar-a-Lago bash. The White House did not immediately return Elite Daily's request for comment regarding the reason for the return, or the president's updated plans. However, the Senate is expected to vote on Friday, Jan. 1 to override Trump's veto of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It would be the first time that Congress successfully overrides Trump's veto in the four years of his presidency, per The Hill.
The president has previously hosted events where COVID-19 safety procedures weren't enforced. On Dec. 9, the same day the United States hit a then-new daily COVID-19 death record at 3,159 fatalities, the president hosted a crowded indoor Hanukkah party at the White House. Tom Mountain, vice chairman of the Massachusetts Republican State Committee and attendee of the party, told WJAR on Dec. 27 that once guests were inside the White House, they were not required to wear masks or social distance. "People would just leisurely and gingerly take off their mask to mingle, to schmooze,” he stated. Three days after the event, Mountain was hospitalized with a critical case of COVID-19, per WJAR.
And in September, the White House hosted Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination ceremony in the Rose Garden with a crowd of maskless attendees. Even though the event was held outdoors, many guests — including the president — tested positive for coronavirus just days later, and the ceremony was named as the possible "superspreader" infection source. Since then, many of Trump's closest friends and advisers have contracted the virus, including his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, and Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, to name a few.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Americans, a massive party is likely unnecessary at best, and a plain bad idea at worst. Whether you're part of a presidential circle or not, it's clear everyone is vulnerable to contracting the virus.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated to include information about President Donald Trump's return to the White House on Thursday, Dec. 31.
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