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Donald Trump

Ticket prices go up to US$750 for Donald Trump’s ‘very glam’ New Year’s Eve party at Mar-a-Lago

Trump supporters said the extra hassle and cost will be worth it

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 31 December, 2017, 2:32pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 31 December, 2017, 11:27pm

US President Donald Trump is set to ring in the new year the same way he has for about two decades – at the lavish party he hosts at his private club here.

But this weekend’s gala at Mar-a-Lago, his first since becoming president, will be a little different: the security will be tighter. The crowds will probably be bigger. And the tickets will run US$750 a guest, a hike from last year, according to members and guests.

Trump supporters said the extra hassle and cost will be worth it.

“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,” said Toni Holt Kramer, a member of the club and co-founder of the “Trumpettes USA” group. “Now he’s president, and he’s accomplished so much already.”

Membership applications at Mar-a-Lago surged after Trump was elected, leading the club to double its initiation fee to US$200,000 this year.

As president, Trump no longer runs his real estate and hotel business, but he continues to own Mar-a-Lago and his other properties.

Critics said the boost in prices for Sunday’s party and Trump’s regular trips to Trump Organisation properties – this is the president’s tenth visit to Mar-a-Lago this year – show how he is using his position to promote his brand.

“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,” said Kathleen Clark, a government ethics expert at the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis.

The White House and Trump Organisation officials did not respond to requests for comment. A woman who answered the phone at Mar-a-Lago declined to share details about the party with a non-member and said there was no press office to respond to inquiries.

For some, the New Year’s Eve bash at Mar-a-Lago is the highlight of the Palm Beach social season.

Hundreds of guests attend the red-carpet gala, which begins with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Dinner typically involves a four-course meal that ends with a signature dessert – the meringue-topped baked Alaska. One year, the menu was printed on white chocolate.

About 500 to 600 guests attended last year’s bash, according to guests. Then-President-elect Trump took the stage to make New Year’s remarks. Donald Trump Jnr, whose birthday is New Year’s Eve, danced in a conga line, photos from the event show. Actors Sylvester Stallone and Fabio Lanzoni took photos with guests.

This year’s event is expected to be bigger than last year’s, with a VIP area being built on top of the stage, according to an employee who helps out with events at the club.

Tickets cost $600 for members and $750 for guests, an increase from last year, as Politico first reported.

Kramer said tickets this year may be hard to come by because members get first dibs.

“I expect most of the members will want to be there. It’s going to be fabulous,” she said, adding that Trump will “be the last one to leave the party, and the first one up in the morning, tweeting. Lucky for us, he doesn’t need a lot of sleep.”