Nov 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

White House holiday parties won't stop despite coronavirus pandemic

A copy of an invitation to a White House dinner

A copy of an invitation to one of the White House's holiday parties, obtained by Axios.

President Trump isn't letting his own staff outbreaks or a resurgence in COVID-19 cases stop his plans for one last season of holiday parties before he leaves office.

Driving the news: Invitations for White House holiday parties hosted by the Trumps began circulating this month, ahead of events that begin the first week of December.

  • Two invitations reviewed by Axios make no mention of health safety protocols.
  • White House officials tell me this year's parties will be held indoors, as usual, despite recommendations from the CDC discouraging large gatherings and holiday celebrations.

Chief of staff to First Lady Melania Trump, Stephanie Grisham, told Axios: "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."  

  • "Guests will enjoy food individually plated by chefs at plexiglass-protected food stations. All passed beverages will be covered. All service staff will wear masks and gloves to comply with food safety guidelines. 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."

Don't forget: Several additional White House staff and people close to the president tested positive for coronavirus last week, including Donald Trump Jr. and Rudy Giuliani's son Andrew Giuliani, who is a White House aide.

  • Axios has learned that an official at the National Security Council also tested positive on Friday.
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