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Trump eyes election party

WASHINGTON — President

Donald Trump has his

eye on hosting an election

night party at his own hotel

in the nation’s capital.

Over the past several days,

the campaign has pushed out

fundraising emails in the

president’s name offering

donors the chance to enter

a drawing “to join Team

Trump at the Election Night

Party in my favorite hotel,”

in Washington, suggesting

he will use his luxury hotel

as the backdrop for reacting

to election results. The campaign

has also spotlighted

plans for the party in fundraising

blasts from the president’s

son Donald Trump. Jr.

“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.

For Trump, an election

night party at his own hotel is

symbolic for a businessman

who leveraged his celebrity

as a reality star and New

York real estate magnate to

win the nation’s highest offi

ce.

Critics see it as one more

reminder of how the president

has used his offi ce to personally

profi t as foreign leaders,

conservative supporters and

administration offi cials use

the lobby of Washington’s

Trump International Hotel as

an unoffi cial 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 Offi ce 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.

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.

“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 nonprofi t

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.”

The White House referred

questions on the president’s

election night plans to the

Trump campaign, which did

not respond to requests for

comment.

It’s unclear how big

Trump’s election night party

will be. The District of Columbia,

under coronavirus

protocols, has capped mass

gatherings at 50 people.

The president has sidestepped

the district’s rules,

which hold no weight on federal

property, at other recent

events. The president hosted

hundreds of people on the

White House grounds for an

Independence Day weekend

celebration, for his Republican

National Convention

speech in August and again

at last month’s Rose Garden

announcement of the nomination

of Judge Amy Coney

Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Several attendees, including

Trump, tested positive for

the coronavirus in the days

following Barrett’s event.

Few guests wore masks.

District of Columbia

Mayor Muriel Bowser told

reporters on Monday that

she had heard of plans for

an election night party and

added, “We will be in touch

with our licensee, which is

the hotel.”

Bowser also more broadly

questioned Trump’s wisdom

in holding large gatherings

at a moment when cases are

spiking in the U.S. Trump

was expected to host a ceremony

on the South Lawn of

the White House on Monday

after an anticipated Senate

vote to confirm Barrett.

“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.”

Trump held his 2016 election

party in his then-hometown

of New York. But he

booked his victory party at

New York’s Hilton in Midtown

Manhattan because his

own nearby Trump International

Hotel & Tower didn’t

have a big enough room.

It’s unclear how much of a

presence Trump himself will

be in the election night festivities

this time. With a significant

portion of the electorate

opting to mail in their ballots,

that could delay tabulation of

results.

Sherman noted that

Trump, whenever he leaves

office, will have a Secret Service

detail for the rest of his

life like other past presidents.

With every Trump trip to one

of his properties, taxpayers

will cover the tab of agents

protecting the 45th president.

“I have a high level of

confidence that Donald

Trump will find a way to

have government or special

interest money go to his hotels

regardless of the outcome

of next week’s election,”

Sherman said.

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