For the last twenty years, President Donald Trump has held an extravagant New Year’s Eve party at his private club, Mar-a-Lago.
However, now he is President, this evening will be much different from any other New Year’s Eve Trump’s party guests have previously experienced.
And this is signified through the steep price-rise of the exclusive tickets to the Palm Beach resort. Last year, tickets sold for ‘just’ $525 for members and $575 for guests.
Now members can expect to pay $600, with guests shelling out $750. Really puts that twenty quid club entrance fee into perspective.
"Stop calling Mar-a-Lago the 'Winter White House'. That's a deceptive Trump branding effort. Mar-a-Lago is a for-profit business owned and promoted by Trump. It is not Govt-owned and it's primarily a vacation resort, whose dues trump doubled when he took office" – Frida Ghitis
— Gun Control Now (@SusResister) December 28, 2017
Although Donald Trump does not now run his real estate and hotel business, he still owns Mar-a-Lago as well as various other properties.
After he became president, the number of Mar-a-Lago membership applications soared, resulting in the initiation fee being doubled to an eye-watering $200,000.
Some experts are now criticising Trump for apparently profiting from his presidency, while using his powerful position to promote the Trump brand.
White House aides think members of Mar-a-Lago, whose payments to the club pad President Trump’s pockets, try to take advantage of him and influence him on policy. pic.twitter.com/Oq0R655k6U
— Matt Corley (@mcorley) December 30, 2017
Critics have noted how – as well as this price boost – Trump has made frequent trips to Trump Organisation properties; including ten trips to Mar-a-Lago.
Government ethics expert from the Washington University School of Law in St Louis, Kathleen Clark, has made the following statement to The Washington Post:
The President continues to find ways to profit from public office, by exploiting the fact that there are people who will pay to spend time with him and to be seen with him.
Seeing NYT reporters defend that disgrace at Mar-a-Lago opens a real window on the existential rot at the paper. For those of us who worked in a different, much tougher, more rigorous journalistic world, it's pretty sad. Insiderism has won. Readers no longer matter.
— Tom Watson (@tomwatson) December 29, 2017
A law known as the STOCK Act was introduced back in 2012 and states:
No executive branch employee may use nonpublic information derived from [or acquired through] their position as an executive branch employee as a means for making a private profit.
By breaking this law, the President could land himself in serious trouble.
Ethics lawyer Richard Painter told The Huffington Post:
Those who do not follow such advice do so at their own risk. This could also factor into a decision by the House to impeach an official who is subject to impeachment.
Trump starts his day at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.
This is his 115th day at a Trump property as president.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) December 30, 2017
However, some Mar-a-Lago club members believe the price hike – and additional security – will be worth it.
Club member and co-founder of ‘Trumpettes USA’, Toni Holt Kramer, told The Washington Post:
It’s a very glam night. I think everyone is even more excited this year than last year, because then he was president-elect, he hadn’t been sworn in,
Now he’s president, and he’s accomplished so much already.
Right now at Mar-a-Lago, President Trump is surrounded by people who paid to be near him. What’s the worst that could happen?
— Claude Taylor (@TrueFactsStated) December 29, 2017
The glamorous annual event usually kicks off with guests being served cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, before a lavish four-course meal begins.
In the past, entertainment has included crooner Rod Stewart, and a Tiger Woods Impersonator.
It blows my mind that there are people in the world who actually want to be members of Mar-a-Lago.
— Jamie Pearson (@TravelSavvyMom) December 31, 2017
The theme for this year’s luxury bash is ‘modern fantasy garden’, with Jose Graterol Designs of Miami arranging the decor for the fourth time in a row.
Previous themes have included Las Vegas showgirls and Moulin Rouge, however now Trump is President there will be reportedly be amore sophisticated approach.
Co-owner of Jose Graterol Designs of Miami, Steve Levine, told The Washington Post: ‘There’s a more modern vibe than in the past’.
Big party at Mar-a-Lago tonight?
Let's hope that the journalists on duty are keeping a sharp eye on the guest list. Just sayin'. This is where deals are done.
— Heidi Lynn Russell❄️ (@RussellsRiff) December 31, 2017
It is believed 500 to 600 guests went to last year’s party, with even greater numbers expected this New Year’s Eve.