He argued he’s seen guests wear face masks so that makes the parties okay.
‘They are Christmas parties. We reduced the number and I see a lot of people wearing masks. That’s a good thing,’ the president said Tuesday.
The White House has scheduled more than 20 holiday events this month, which range from tours of the holiday decor to cocktail receptions to Thursday’s black-tie Congressional ball.
And photos posted to social media show a large number of attendees – including President Trump’s children – are not wearing face masks as they celebrate the first family’s last Christmas in the White House.
Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle, both of whom have tested positive for COVID in the past, were at a recent White House reception not wearing face masks, photos and videos posted on social media show.
Tiffany Trump and her boyfriend Michael Boulos were also there. In some photos they are wearing face masks and in other photos they are not.
President Donald Trump brushed off criticism that the White House is holding large holiday receptions at a time medical experts are warning against such gatherings
President Trump said most people wear face masks to holiday parties but pictures posted to social media – including the one above with Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle – show many guests do not
Tiffany Trump and her boyfriend Michael Boulos at a White House holiday event
Guests have posted their holiday party pics to social media
President Trump does not wear a face mask to address the crowd at this holiday party
Ivanka Trump posted a photo of her and husband Jared Kushner at Friday night’s holiday party at the White House
The White House has been the site of at least two super spreader events – the September 26 Rose Garden announcement of Judge Amy Comey Barrett as Trump’s Supreme Court nominee and an election night event in the East Room.
Trump attorney Jenna Ellis attended a holiday party at the White House on Friday night, posting a photo on her Instagram page of herself before one of the Christmas trees, not wearing a mask. She is reported to have tested positive for COVID this week. She’s also been in frequent contact with Rudy Giuliani, who is in the hospital battling the virus.
‘Do not host or attend gatherings with anyone who has COVID-19 or has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days,’ the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in its holiday guidelines.
It also recommends scaled-back gatherings.
‘Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household (who are consistently taking measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19) poses the lowest risk for spread,’ the agency says.
Additionally on Tuesday, President Trump declined to offer his advice on what to do for December holidays, bypassing the question when it was asked to him during his Operation Warp Speed summit.
‘The CDC puts out their important guidelines. I think that the vaccine was our goal. That was number one,’ he said.
Melania Trump, meanwhile, had a different holiday message that contrasted with her husband’s desire to return the country back to normal.
The first lady warned of a bleak Christmas season this year and implored for extra kindness during a Toys for Tots event with the Marines on Tuesday.
In her remarks, she reminded people that during the coronavirus pandemic, many families will be separated for the holidays.
Medical experts have asked people not to gather outside their households this holiday season as COVID-19 infections are on the rise across the United States. Over the past week, there has been an average of 201,756 cases per day.
Other guests have worn face masks during their White House events
Melania Trump warned of a bleak Christmas season this year and implored for extra kindness during the holiday season
Donald Trump’s lawyer Jenna Ellis tested positive for coroanvirus, a Tuesday report revealed, after she went maskless to an indoor White House Christmas Party on Friday
Melania Trump encouraged the children to check on their neighbors and make holiday cards for those in nursing homes.
‘Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, many Americans are spending the holidays separated from their loved ones and have to change routines they’ve had for many years,’ she said.
‘Remember that small acts of kindness such as calling your friends and neighbors or making holiday cards for a nearby nursing home can go a long way in spreading cheer and helping those struggling with change,’ she added.
The biggest event of the White House Christmas season – the formal Congressional Ball – is on Thursday night. Both the president and first lady are expected to make an appearance.
Lawmakers and senior congressional staff put on their fancy dress to enjoy the appetizers, alcohol and decorations with administration officials.
The attending physician in the U.S. Capitol warned lawmakers and staff last week not to attend holiday receptions ‘outside of your family unit,’ which would include the ball.
In a ‘dear colleague’ letter to congressional staff, Dr. Brian P. Monahan cited rising cases on Capitol Hill as the reason for the precaution.
‘Due to experience in the Congress of increased disease frequency occurring in certain circumstances, I recommend that you DO NOT ATTEND dinners, receptions, or restaurant gatherings outside of your family unit,’ he wrote in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by DailyMail.com.
It’s unclear how many would make the trek down from Capitol Hill this year.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended the administration’s decision to go forward with the parties as COVID cases are on the rise.
‘If you can loot businesses, burn down buildings, engage in a protest, you can also go to a Christmas party,’ she said at her press briefing last Wednesday.
Many revelers at the White House last week did not wear face masks to a holiday party
A memo from Dr. Brian P. Monahan, the attending physician in the U.S. Capitol, warned lawmakers and staff not to attend holiday receptions ‘outside of your family unit,’ which would include the upcoming Congressional Ball at the White House
An invitation to a holiday party at the White House makes no mention of face masks
A group of revelers at a White House holiday party
One person invited to a holiday reception told DailyMail.com last week that the invitation made no mention of face masks or any COVID-related precautions.
One White House invite, in cursive writing on a blue background with the presidential seal at the top, merely requested ‘the pleasure of your company’ at one of the many holiday events the White House is hosting, sometimes up to two a day over the next few weeks.
‘Otherwise, I’ll see you in four years,’ he added, prompting cheers from the audience.
Trump was heard addressing the crowd in a video shared on social media by former Oklahoma Republican Party Chair Pam Pollard.
The footage showed dozens of people crammed into the Cross Hall of the White House state floor, standing closely together as they listened to the president speak.
Many seen in the video were not wearing masks. President Trump also does not wear a face mask when he addresses the gatherings, according to photos and videos posted to social media.
Trump himself was hospitalized for the virus in October, while the first lady and Barron Trump tested positive. Numerous White House and Trump campaign staff have had to quarantine.
Invitations to the holiday go out a variety of people, including the president’s supporters, White House staff and their families, donors, lawmakers, and senior staffers on Capitol Hill.
The White House parties this year will be smaller than they were in the past and there will be COVID precautions in place, a spokesperson for the first lady said last week.
‘The People’s House will celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah while providing the safest environment possible. This includes smaller guest lists, masks will be required and available, social distancing encouraged while on the White House grounds, and hand sanitizer stations throughout the State Floor,’ Melania’s chief of staff Stephanie Grisham said.
She noted the food will be individually plated and all service staff will wear masks and gloves.
‘Attending the parties will be a very personal choice. It is a longstanding tradition for people to visit and enjoy the cheer and iconic decor of the annual White House Christmas celebrations,’ Grisham said.