Two hundred people visited the White House Tuesday night to celebrate the holiday season, despite the U.S. reaching 15 million coronavirus cases that same day. The party was one of several the State Department has planned for this week and next. Tuesday’s festivities included a tour of Melania Trump’s holiday decorations, as well as a self-guided tour of Blair House next door. At the end, there were two bars in the guesthouse featuring drinks in holiday-themed paper cups. Meanwhile, the State Department’s guidance has been for embassies to hold virtual holiday gatherings only. The American Foreign Service Association said in a statement that it found the State Department’s behavior “disconcerting.”
Children who attended the 200-person party at the White House on Tuesday were given the scraps of the first lady’s “Be Best” merchandise from her anti-bullying and anti-drug-use campaign. “It’s time to get rid of the leftovers,” an unnamed official told The Washington Post about the surplus swag. With weeks left in the administration, Melania Trump’s office donated branded “Be Best” frisbees, backpacks, and water bottles for the State Department party.