The attending physician in the U.S. Capitol has warned lawmakers and staff not to attend holiday receptions ‘outside of your family unit,’ which would include the upcoming Congressional Ball at the White House.
In a ‘dear colleague’ letter to congressional staff, Dr. Brian P. Monahan cited rising cases on Capitol Hill as the reason for the precaution.
‘Due to experience in the Congress of increased disease frequency occurring in certain circumstances, I recommend that you DO NOT ATTEND dinners, receptions, or restaurant gatherings outside of your family unit,’ he wrote in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by DailyMail.com.
The annual black tie Congressional Ball, which is on December 10, is one of the biggest parties the White House hosts during the holiday season.
Lawmakers and senior congressional staff put on their fancy dress to enjoy the appetizers, alcohol and decorations with administration officials. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump usually put in an appearance.
It’s unclear how many would make the trek down from Capitol Hill this year.
And, at a party Tuesday night in the executive mansion, several of the guests at a holiday reception weren’t wearing masks as they enjoyed the hospitality of the White House.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended the administration’s decision to go forward with the parties as COVID cases are on the rise.
‘If you can loot businesses, burn down buildings, engage in a protest, you can also go to a Christmas party,’ she said at her press briefing on Wednesday.
Many revelers at the White House on Tuesday night did not wear face masks to a holiday party
A memo from Dr. Brian P. Monahan, the attending physician in the U.S. Capitol, warned lawmakers and staff not to attend holiday receptions ‘outside of your family unit,’ which would include the upcoming Congressional Ball at the White House
An invitation to a holiday party at the White House makes no mention of face masks
A group of party goers at the White House on Tuesday night as the Trump administration kicks off a series of holiday events
One person invited to a holiday reception told DailyMail.com that the invitation made no mention of face masks or any COVID-related precautions.
One White House invite, in cursive writing on a blue background with the presidential seal at the top, merely requested ‘the pleasure of your company’ at one of the many holiday events the White House is hosting, sometimes up to two a day over the next few weeks.
Invitations to at least 20 White House parties have already gone out, The New York Times reported.
Tuesday night marked one of multiple holiday receptions the Trumps will hold this month, intent on celebrating a final season before the president leaves office on January 20.
President Trump also didn’t wear a face covering when he walked down the main staircase to address the revelers.
‘It’s been an amazing four years. We are trying to do another four years,’ Trump told the crowd, which included many Republican National Committee members.
President Trump teased a 2024 run at the White House Christmas party Tuesday evening
Footage of the event was shared by a guest on social media and showed dozens of people – many who were not wearing masks – crammed into the Cross Hall of the White House state floo
‘Otherwise, I’ll see you in four years,’ he added, prompting cheers from the audience.
Trump was heard addressing the crowd in a video shared on social media by former Oklahoma Republican Party Chair Pam Pollard.
The footage showed dozens of people crammed into the Cross Hall of the White House state floor, standing closely together as they listened to the president speak.
Many seen in the video were not wearing masks.
Trump was filmed making his entrance as he waved to a crowd of cheering guests.
The video showed attendees standing closely together as they listened to the president speak
The celebrations come as coronavirus cases have spiked throughout the country, as Washington D.C. has cracked down on the size of gatherings, and medical experts have asked people to scale back their holiday plans to avoid any super spreader events.
The White House has been the site of at least one suspected COVID-19 superspreader event, and dozens of the president’s aides, campaign staffers and allies have tested positive in numerous outbreaks.
Trump himself was hospitalized for the virus in October, and the first lady and two of his sons have tested positive. Numerous others have had to quarantine.
The holiday events range from tours of the White House holiday decorations – Melania Trump unveiled her ‘America the Beautiful’ theme on Monday – to cocktail receptions to black tie balls.
Invitations go out a variety of people, including the president’s supporters, White House staff and their families, donors, lawmakers, and senior staffers on Capitol Hill.
The Republican Party pays for the events, The Washington Post reported, which can run up to millions of dollars.
The White House packed calendar comes as work places around the nation have canceled holiday gatherings out of precaution and families are spending holidays apart due to the coronavirus.
The Official White House Christmas Tree sits in the Cross Hall and Blue Room as the focus of the holiday decorations – it has bright yellow ribbons in contrast with the red ribbons on the rest of the trees
Decorations in the red room are dedicated to first responders, front line workers and essential employees like grocery store workers
The White House parties this year will be smaller than they were in the past and there will be COVID precautions in place, a spokesperson for the first lady said.
‘The People’s House will celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah while providing the safest environment possible. This includes smaller guest lists, masks will be required and available, social distancing encouraged while on the White House grounds, and hand sanitizer stations throughout the State Floor,’ Melania’s chief of staff Stephanie Grisham said.
She noted the food will be individually plated and all service staff will wear masks and gloves.
‘Attending the parties will be a very personal choice. It is a longstanding tradition for people to visit and enjoy the cheer and iconic decor of the annual White House Christmas celebrations,’ Grisham said.