Mar-a-Lago hosts ‘super-spreader’ NYE party amid surging Covid cases with appearances from Don Jr and Rudy Giuliani

 (AP / Carolyn Kaster)
(AP / Carolyn Kaster)

After Donald Trump skipped his annual New Year’s Eve party at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, dozens of guests who paid as much as $1,200 packed a ballroom alongside Rudy Giuliani and the president’s adult sons to watch performances from Vanilla Ice and a Mike Love-led iteration of the Beach Boys.

Also among the mask-less crowds at the black-tie event were right-wing media personalities, including Fox News host Jeanine Piro, as well as the president’s sons Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump and their respective significant others Kimberly Guilfoyle and Lara Trump.

Posts across social media capture party guests dancing to “New York, New York” and singing along to “Ice, Ice Baby” and “Kokomo."

On the final day of 2020, Florida set a record high of more than 17,000 new Covid-19 cases discovered in a single day, with a weekly case average spiking to roughly 12,700 daily confirmed cases. The state’s infection positivity rate is 11.57 per cent.

A record-high 125,379 US patients were reported in hospital for the coronavirus on 31 December. More than 3,200 Americans died, with the nation’s 2020 death toll eclipsing 340,000.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has urged Americans to celebrate holiday events virtually or with members of the same household.

“And 2020 ends not with a bang, but with a superspreading Vanilla Ice concert at Mar-a-Lago,” said Columbia University virologist Dr Angela Rasmussen.

Mr Trump returned to the annual event at his south Florida estate in 2019 after remaining at the White House the previous year amid a partial government shutdown, paralysed by his budget demands for construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border.

Days before Christmas, the president fled the White House for his Mar-a-Lago residence after his surprise rejection of a coronavirus relief package tied to a broader federal spending bill, threatening critically needed relief during the public health crisis and another government shutdown.

He abruptly returned to the White House on Wednesday, a day earlier than expected, missing out on his New Year’s Eve party as a Republican-controlled Senate prepared to override his veto of a critical military spending bill and a growing caucus of GOP lawmakers announced intentions to raise futile objections to Joe Biden’s presidential victory during a join session of Congress.

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More than 76,000 Americans died from Covid-19 in December

Trump to skip lavish Mar-a-Lago New Year’s Eve party