Whether or not President Donald Trump ultimately decides to party with supporters on New Year’s Eve at his private Mar-a-Lago golf resort, taxpayers have already paid $54,000 for tents for the bash, according to government spending records.
The tab for the party tents has been picked up by the public even as hundreds of thousands of federal workers are out of work thanks to a partial government shutdown triggered by the president’s refusal to sign a spending measure until it includes billions of dollars to build his border wall.
Grimes Events & Party Tents Inc. of Delray Beach, Florida, was paid $54,020 on Dec. 19 by the Secret Service for “Tent Rental for MAL,” according to spending records revealed by Quartz. The Secret Service often uses tents for security checks and safe spots for VIPs.
A Grimes employee told Quartz: “We are providing tents for the Mar-a-Lago New Year’s Eve party, yes.”
The Secret Service also paid $41,000 on Dec. 19 to BSE Performance for “Generators and light towers rental for MAL.” But it wasn’t clear if this expenditure was just for the party.
Trump gave up his planned Christmas holiday at Mar-a-Lago and stayed at the White House because of the government shutdown. Mick Mulvaney, soon to be the president’s acting chief of staff, said Friday on “Fox & Friends” that Trump had “canceled his plans for New Year’s” at Mar-a-Lago. However, there’s still time for the president to change his mind. But Trump must weigh pleasing his dues-paying golf club members against the “optics” of a lush fete as federal workers are furloughed or work without pay. The Secret Service is among the agencies whose funding ran out at midnight Dec. 21.
Last year, the Secret Service spent over $26,000 to rent lights, generators, tables and tents for the New Year’s party at Mar-a-Lago, according to Newsweek.
Non-members of the resort are paying $1,000 to attend this year’s party at Mar-a-Lago, and members are paying $650. The fee to join the club jumped from $100,000 to $200,000 after Trump became president.
Quartz reported last month that the Secret Service has spent a total of about $400,000 for golf cart rentals to guard the president as he golfs.