US

Trump’s annual New Year’s Eve gala at Mar-a-lago goes on without him

As President Donald Trump returned to Washington D.C. amid his ongoing battle with Congress, his friends and family members have gathered at his Mar-a-Lago estate for his annual New Year’s Eve gala.  

Trump and First Lady Melania were forced to skip their black-tie party on Thursday to resolve the highly-anticipated COVID relief bill, but confirmed they would still host hundreds of guests at the Palm Beach resort. 

Earlier this evening, the president’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr, who turned 43 today, and girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle shared a video message wishing his supporters a happy new year from Mar-a-Lago. 

‘We just wanted to wish you guys an incredible new year. Obviously 2020 has been a little bit nuts and rather crazy, I don’t think anyone’s going to be upset about moving on from this one,’ Don Jr, said.  

Other members of the Trump clan also shared photos from the event, including Trump’s younger son, Eric, 36, who was pictured posing alongside wife Lara inside the opulent venue.   

Among the slew of guests was Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican who recently proposed to his girlfriend Ginger Luckey. 

Donald Trump Jr, who turned 43 today, and girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle shared a video message on Facebook wishing his supporters a happy new year from Mar-a-Lago

Eric Trump, 36, shared a photo alongside wife Lara as they celebrated the end of 2020 at the Palm Beach resort

Eric Trump, 36, shared a photo alongside wife Lara as they celebrated the end of 2020 at the Palm Beach resort 

Lara Trump, who shares a son and daughter with Eric, put the kids to bed before heading off to the celebration

 Lara Trump, who shares a son and daughter with Eric, put the kids to bed before heading off to the celebration 

Tickets to the event were going for $1,000 each, one person attending the gala told DailyMail.com. A person has to be a member of Mar-a-Lago or a guest of a member in order to attend.

It’s unclear how many people will attend this year’s New Year’s Eve gathering, but at least 500 people had reserved tickets by Wednesday, CNN reported. Hundreds of people typically attend. The main ballroom can hold 700 people and there are smaller ballrooms available to add to the crowd size.

The New Year’s Eve gala is an annual tradition that pre-dates Trump’s time in the White House. Last year, Trump walked the red carpet with his wife Melania and their son Barron.

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner also attended with their children. Donald Trump Jr. was accompanied by one of his sons and girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle. Eric Trump and Lara Trump were also there as were Tiffany Trump and her boyfriend Michael Boulos.

Prominent Trump friends like Rudy Giuliani have also made an appearance. 

As the president returned to White House Thursday, he released a New Year’s video message claiming that ‘everyone is calling’ to thank him for the vaccine. 

Trump and first lady Melania Trump held hands as they walked from Marine One toward the White House with the president splitting off from his wife to go to the Oval Office.  

Trump also touted his accomplishments with Operation Warp Speed in a bizarre video he shared on Twitter Thursday afternoon.   

Rep Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican who recently proposed to girlfriend Ginger Luckey at the resort, was among the guests on Thursday night

Rep Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican who recently proposed to girlfriend Ginger Luckey at the resort, was among the guests on Thursday night

Gaetz and his fiancee were seen dressed to the nines ahead of the new year, but neglected to wear a mask

Gaetz and his fiancee were seen dressed to the nines ahead of the new year, but neglected to wear a mask 

The New Year's Eve gala held at the president's second home (pictured) is an annual tradition that pre-dates Trump's time in the White House

The New Year’s Eve gala held at the president’s second home (pictured) is an annual tradition that pre-dates Trump’s time in the White House

2019:

2019: 

‘Over and over again, we were told it would be impossible to deliver a vaccine by the end of the year,’ Trump said in the five-minute clip. 

‘All of the experts said, “Absolutely unthinkable. Trump is exaggerating. It can’t happen.” And we did it,’ the president said. ‘Years from now, they’ll be talking about it. They’ll be talking about this great, great thing that we did with the vaccines.’ 

‘The world will benefit. We’ll benefit. And everybody’s calling to thank me,’ Trump added. 

‘To defeat the China virus we launched the largest mobilization since World War II. We transformed our factories to build tens of thousands of ventilators and millions and millions of masks virtually overnight,’ Trump said. 

‘Nobody thought it could be done. We ignored the experts who demanded open borders and we shut down travel from China and Europe to protect our citizens and we built the wall,’ Trump said before claiming that his administration’s pioneering of new therapies and treatments ‘saved millions of American lives’.

Trump said his administration has ‘to be remembered for what’s been done’. 

The video was released the same day Trump returned to the White House. Officials at the White House did not give a reason for the return but it coincides with Trump’s fight with Congress over his veto of a major defense bill, his demand for increased COVID stimulus checks, and the January 6th electoral college certification, which Republicans plan to object. It also comes amid increased tensions with Iran.

While Trump is back in Washington, President-elect Joe Biden is expected to spend a quiet night at his beach house in Rehoboth, Delaware, although he is scheduled to appear on the ABC special ‘Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2021′ on Thursday evening.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gave the likely death blow to Trump’s bid to boost the COVID relief checks to $2,000 from the $600 – an 11th hour demand the president made after sitting on the sidelines while the deal was negotiated with his administration and passed by Congress.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk from Marine One toward the White House after returning to Washington D.C. from Florida a day earlier than planned

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk from Marine One toward the White House after returning to Washington D.C. from Florida a day earlier than planned

The Trumps exit Air Force One on New Year's Eve, where they will celebrate the New Year holiday at the White House rather than at a gala at Mar-a-Lago

The Trumps exit Air Force One on New Year’s Eve, where they will celebrate the New Year holiday at the White House rather than at a gala at Mar-a-Lago

President Donald Trump walks to the Oval Office after arriving back in Washington D.C.

President Donald Trump walks to the Oval Office after arriving back in Washington D.C.

Trump also touted his accomplishments with Operation Warp Speed in a bizarre video he shared on Twitter Thursday afternoon. 'Over and over again, we were told it would be impossible to deliver a vaccine by the end of the year,' Trump said in the five-minute clip (pictured)

Trump also touted his accomplishments with Operation Warp Speed in a bizarre video he shared on Twitter Thursday afternoon. ‘Over and over again, we were told it would be impossible to deliver a vaccine by the end of the year,’ Trump said in the five-minute clip (pictured)

In the opening minutes of the Senate’s New Year’s Eve session, McConnell again objected after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tried to get a vote on the matter for the third day in a row. 

McConnell has made it clear there is ‘no realistic path’ forward on increased stimulus checks this year, as he said on Tuesday. He offered his own bill that included the $2,000 provision, but also killed off Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, while also creating an election commission – two Trump demands. 

That bill was a poison pill for Democrats.

McConnell then moved on to the other business at hand – overriding President Trump’s veto of the annual defense bill, which funds the Pentagon and gives troops a pay raise. 

Senator Bernie Sanders and a small group of progressive Senate Democrats had wanted to delay the vote to overrule Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act to push McConnell on the $2,000 check issue, but they were overruled by members of their own party who voted Wednesday night to start that process. 

Schumer and also Vice President-elect Kamala Harris voted in favor of the motion to proceed. The Senate voted 80-12 to begin debate on the issue, with another procedural vote due on Friday. 

The House already overrode Trump’s veto of the must-pass defense legislation. The Senate is expected to do the same, making the defense bill law and giving Trump his first veto override. 

Tensions have increased with Iran as the one-year anniversary of the killing of Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Qasem Soleimani approaches - above his portrait hangs along the highway leading to Beirut

Tensions have increased with Iran as the one-year anniversary of the killing of Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Qasem Soleimani approaches – above his portrait hangs along the highway leading to Beirut

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell crushed yet another Democratic effort to get a vote on a stand alone bill to increase COVID-19 stimulus checks to $2,000

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell crushed yet another Democratic effort to get a vote on a stand alone bill to increase COVID-19 stimulus checks to $2,000

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump board Air Force One as they depart from Florida early on Thursday to return to Washington, D.C.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump board Air Force One as they depart from Florida early on Thursday to return to Washington, D.C.

The first couple will skip out on the annual New Year's Eve Party at Trump's Mar-a-Lago club after guests paid $1,000 and were promised the president would be in attendance

The first couple will skip out on the annual New Year’s Eve Party at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club after guests paid $1,000 and were promised the president would be in attendance

Trump supporters lined the road as the president's motorcade made its way from Mar-a-Lago to Palm Beach Airport

Trump supporters lined the road as the president’s motorcade made its way from Mar-a-Lago to Palm Beach Airport

The president had long promised to veto the defense bill, first over the inclusion of a provision to rename military bases named for Confederate figures.  

More recently, Trump threatened to veto it if Congress didn’t retool Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which the president argued gives ‘big tech’ companies like Facebook and Twitter too much legal protection. The section gives the companies protection from lawsuits over content published on their platform.   

The president was also said to have concerns over whether Iran will retaliate in the coming days on the one year anniversary of the US drone strike that killed the country’s top general, Qasem Soleimani.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused Washington on Thursday of trying to manufacture a reason to attack his country. He vowed Tehran would defend itself even though it does not seek war.

Two US B-52 bombers flew over the Middle East on Wednesday in what U.S. officials said was a message of deterrence to Iran ahead of the first anniversary of a US drone strike that killed Soleimani on January 3, 2020. 

Meanwhile, January 6 has been a crucial date on Trump’s radar while he’s been in Florida as that is the date Congress will certify the electoral college results. Biden won with 306 votes to Trump’s 232. 

The president is trying to overturn the election results so he can stay in the White House for a second term. 

Trump spent the majority of Wednesday on Twitter blasting various Republicans for not doing more to stop his alleged voter fraud, claiming Georgia Gov Brian Kemp is being controlled by Stacey Abrams. He’s also falsely claimed that he has enough votes to flip Georgia. 

Melania Trump waves to supporters lining the route in Palm Beach as the first couple drives from Mar-a-Lago to the Palm Beach Airport to return to Washington D.C.

Melania Trump waves to supporters lining the route in Palm Beach as the first couple drives from Mar-a-Lago to the Palm Beach Airport to return to Washington D.C. 

Trump has spent the majority of Wednesday on Twitter blasting various Republicans for not doing more to stop his alleged voter fraud, claiming Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is being controlled by Stacey Abrams

Trump has spent the majority of Wednesday on Twitter blasting various Republicans for not doing more to stop his alleged voter fraud, claiming Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is being controlled by Stacey Abrams

Trump has also falsely claimed that he's had enough votes to flip Georgia

Trump has also falsely claimed that he’s had enough votes to flip Georgia

‘@BrianKempGA, his puppet Lt. Governor @GeoffDuncanGA, and Secretary of State, are disasters for Georgia. Won’t let professionals get anywhere near Fulton County for signature verifications, or anything else,’ Trump claimed. ‘They are virtually controlled by @staceyabrams & the Democrats. Fools!’ 

His early return comes as Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri became the first member of the upper chamber to voice his support for contesting the electoral college vote on Wednesday. Hawley, a Republican, said that ‘some states, particularly Pennsylvania, failed to follow their own state election laws.’ 

‘At the very least, Congress should investigate,’ he said in a statement.

‘For these reasons, I will follow the same Democrat members of Congress have in years past and object during the certification process on January 6 to raise these critical issues,’ Hawley explained. Hawley did not provide any evidence for his claims.

Next Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence will preside over a meeting of Congress when the results of the Electoral College vote are read and tallied. 

It’s generally a formality, but as Hawley pointed out, Democrats did object to certain states’ vote counts, including during the 2016 and 2004 races. 

Pence refused to sign on to the plan that would upend Congress certifying the election for Biden. In order for challenges to be debated, both a House member and a senator have to sign on to an objection. 

House Democrats raised concerns after the 2016 race over state tallies in Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Texas, Mississippi and the Carolinas, however no Democratic senator joined the effort. Biden, at the time serving as vice president, gaveled down the protests because they weren’t joined by a senator. 

Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri got into a Twitter spat with Walmart, the world's largest retailer, on Wednesday

Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri got into a Twitter spat with Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, on Wednesday

Vice President Mike Pence refused to sign on to a plan that would have him choose to read the votes cast by President Donald Trump's 'electors' in states that President-elect Joe Biden won when he presides over a Congressional session to finalize the election on January 6

Vice President Mike Pence refused to sign on to a plan that would have him choose to read the votes cast by President Donald Trump’s ‘electors’ in states that President-elect Joe Biden won when he presides over a Congressional session to finalize the election on January 6 

President Donald Trump has been pressuring Republican senators to object to states' Electoral College vote counts, as a senator and a House member have to sign on for there to be a debate and a vote. Depending on how many states Republicans object to, it could hold up certifying the election for Joe Biden for hours

President Donald Trump has been pressuring Republican senators to object to states’ Electoral College vote counts, as a senator and a House member have to sign on for there to be a debate and a vote. Depending on how many states Republicans object to, it could hold up certifying the election for Joe Biden for hours  

President Donald Trump is encouraging his supporters to come to Washington, D.C. the day that Congress certifies the Electoral College results. With Hawley saying he'll join in an effort to object to states' votes, the process could take hours

President Donald Trump is encouraging his supporters to come to Washington, D.C. the day that Congress certifies the Electoral College results. With Hawley saying he’ll join in an effort to object to states’ votes, the process could take hours 

Once Hawley and House Republicans object to a state’s vote count on January 6th, lawmakers will go back to their respective chambers and discuss the merits of the objection for two hours. 

Only a majority vote is needed to overrule the objections. 

With the Democrats controlling the House and several Republicans in the Senate publicly saying that the election is over – and Biden is the winner – Hawley’s objection will trigger a delay, but not flip the results to Trump.    

McConnell asked senators not to engage because they’d be forced to go on the record and by voting in favor of Biden’s win, could be in danger of being taken down by pro-Trump forces within the Republican Party. 

On December 15, the day after the Electoral College met, McConnell publicly congratulated Biden as president-elect.   


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