Nearly 800,000 federal workers are still anxiously awaiting the return of their paychecks as the government shutdown that began before Christmas bleeds into the New Year.
But President Donald Trump’s holiday bash at Mar-a-Lago did not suffer as he continues the standoff over funding for his border wall, and taxpayers are still helped subsidize the for-profit gathering, even as no money is available to pay furloughed federal employees.
Americans chipping in to help Trump and the Palm Beach elite turn over their calendars isn’t unique to this year. The Secret Service spent just over $26,000 on an array of accessories for Mar-a-Lago’s New Year’s Eve party in 2017, which was attended by both Trump and Melania. Though it’s never not going to be a conflict of interest when the president has taxpayers subsidize a for-profit party at his private club, $54,000 for tents feels especially egregious given that the government is currently running under a partial shutdown that has deprived approximately 800,000 federal workers of their paychecks.
Quartz reported on the Secret Service’s expenditures last week, noting there was a second contract for $41,250 for “GENERATORS AND LIGHT TOWERS RENTAL FOR MAL.”
The outlet noted that it could not be determined if the contract was specifically for Mar-a-Lago’s New Year’s Eve shindig but pointed out that both contracts were paid on the same day.
Beyond the taxpayer money involved with the party, Trump has enjoyed a second boost of funds from the event, as the Florida club has raised ticket prices since Trump waltzed into office.
Tickets to Mar-a-Lago’s New Year’s Eve party are $1,000, up from $750 a year ago, which was up from $575 the year before that. The cost of joining the club has also skyrocketed since Trump became a political figure. Shortly after he took office, former Obama ethics chief Norm Eisen described the price hike to the Washington Post as “naked profiteering that is more like something out of the era of Louis XVI.” Anyone with an extra grand lying around can essentially buy access to the president.
Though the president himself did not attend the festivities at Mar-a-Lago, Trump's family members did:
After returning from a surprise visit to Iraq, Melania traveled to Palm Beach on Thursday night. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, both government employees, have been vacationing at Mar-a-Lago since before Christmas. On Tuesday, the couple was photographed taking a stroll in flip-flops.