White House Plans Parties Amid Warnings to Hunker Down

Melania Trump will host 'holiday reception,' with other parties to follow
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 24, 2020 9:35 AM CST
Surgeon General Warns on Holidays, WH Sends Out Invites
First lady Melania Trump stands next to the 2020 official White House Christmas tree after it arrived at the White House in Washington on Monday.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Health officials have been issuing warnings against traveling and gathering for the holidays in the midst of a coronavirus surge across the US, but 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue doesn't seem fazed by the cautionary advice. Despite the White House's own issues with COVID-19 after an indoor election night party and the Rose Garden event for Amy Coney Barrett, Melania Trump will be hosting a "holiday reception" on Monday, and there will be other seasonal affairs in the weeks to come to celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah, ABC News and CNN report. First lady spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham says in a statement that guest lists will be pared down from previous years, masks will be required, and other safety protocols will be adhered to, including plexiglass-covered food stations. "Attending the parties will be a very personal choice," she notes, calling them "a longstanding tradition."

A source tells CNN that guests also won't be able to take holiday photos with the president and the first lady. Reuters notes that the Trumps chose to stay in DC for Thanksgiving rather than travel to their Florida resort like they usually do for the holiday. The surgeon general jumped into the fray Monday, warning against these types of gatherings. "We want everyone to understand that these holiday celebrations can be superspreader events," Jerome Adams told ABC, stressing that people should closely follow CDC guidelines on getting together, including with virtual celebrations or, if in-person gatherings are held, by following proper social distancing and safety protocols and holding parties outdoors, if possible. "These [guidelines] apply to the White House, they apply to the American people, they apply to everyone," Adams said. (Read more White House stories.)

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