Tickets to President Donald Trump’s Fourth of July “Salute to America” event were distributed by the White House, as well as the Republican National Committee, which coordinated closely with Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign, according to Politico.
The White House declined to explain how the tickets were distributed but a Trump administration official told Politico that the reserved seating area for Trump’s speech will include First Lady Melania Trump and the Trump family, Vice President Mike Pence and his family, and veterans. Several Cabinet officials and special guests are also expected to attend.
The RNC tried to use the tickets they received from the White House for the speech to “woo donors,” Politico reported. The RNC is “closely coordinating” with Trump’s reelection campaign, even though the White House has stressed that Trump’s speech will not be a “political event.”
An RNC spokesperson told the outlet that it is “standard practice for the RNC to receive a small number of tickets to events just as the DNC did under Democrat Presidents. This is routine for events like the White House Christmas Open Houses, Garden Tours in spring and fall, etc.”
The Pentagon announced that it had given 5,000 tickets for the event to members of the military and their families, CBS News reported, though these are not the VIP tickets given out by the White House and RNC.
White House & RNC Struggled to Give Away Tickets To Trump’s Speech
The White House and RNC had a difficult time giving tickets for Trump’s speech away, Politico reported, citing how “hastily arranged” the event was.
Vanity Fair reported that even members of Trump’s family snubbed the event. Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner, as well as Donald Trump Jr., are instead spending the weekend in the Hamptons.
“They started this too late and everyone has plans already,” Republican donor Dan Eberhart told Politico. “Everyone will be there in spirit, but in reality, people planned their July 4th activities weeks ago.”
White House aides worried about filling the seats, knowing that the size of the crowd will draw media scrutiny.
“They are creating this thing from scratch, and I do not know if anyone knows how it will go off,” a White House aide told Politico. “There are questions about the ticket distribution and who will show up. The weather might be bad. Heads are spinning.”
“An informal survey of more than a half-dozen Trump donors and allies showed that none plan to attend,” wrote Politico’s Nancy Cook, adding that the RNC also struggled to attract donors who wanted seats because they had already left Washington DC for the holiday.
A Republican political operative explained that the week of July 4 is usually a “dead zone for donors.”
“It’s not a very tough ticket to get,” a Republican close to the White House told the outlet. “They’re not going to give it away to anyone off the street, but if you have any juice at all, you can probably get the tickets.”
To fill seats, the White House has resorted to allowing staffers to enter a lottery to receive up to 10 tickets per person, a much higher number than staffers normally get for White House events.
Cook told MSNBC that the White House has been trying to get rid of as many tickets as possible out of concern that not enough people will show up.
“Well, really what the concerns are are that there’s a question about will enough people show up,” Cook told the network. “The White House and the Republican National Committee has all of these VIP seats they’ve been trying to off-load. Originally they tried to give them to a bunch of high-end donors.”
“Now I’ve been hearing even tonight, after I published this story today, that they’re really willing to off-load them to — one White House staffer that I talked to late this afternoon took home 15 tickets and was just going to hand them out to whomever she could tomorrow,” she added. “And the big concern on the part of the White House and the RNC is whether or not these seats will be filled.”
Democrats Slam Trump for Handing Out Tickets to Donors for Taxpayer-Funded Event
Democrats hit out at Trump for giving out tickets to donors for the event, which will cost American taxpayers millions.
“Donald Trump is handing out tickets to his big donors. That’s a campaign event,” said Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, a 2020 presidential contender. “And if he’s going to do a campaign event, then it should be paid for by his campaign contributions. It should not be paid for by the American taxpayer.”
“He’s using the Fourth of July and Park Service funds to reward campaign donors,” wrote Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, referring to a Washington Post report that revealed that the National Park Service diverted $2.5 million from parks to help cover the costs of the event.
“Instead of addressing something like veteran homelessness, [Trump’s] spending it on boosting his ego with a parade that’s fundamentally about him and then getting tickets into the hands of wealthy donors for the Republican Party,” former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, another Democratic presidential contender, told CBS News. “What a waste of money.”