Did you win a trip to Washington last month to meet President Trump at the Trump Victory Dinner at Trump International Hotel?
Someone did, or was supposed to, according to a post on the official website of Donald J. Trump for President. But the Trump campaign won’t say who it was.
The Trump campaign, which advertised the effort on Facebook, promoted a drawing to win “round-trip transportation and accommodations and tickets to attend a dinner with President Trump at the June 28, 2017, Trump Victory Dinner in Washington, D.C. (approximate retail value $3,000).”
The lucky winner might have had to come up with another $3,000 to bring a spouse, since the rules specified that “One (1) winners [sic]” would get the flight, room, dinner and opportunity to “meet President Trump, and have your picture taken with him so you can remember this moment forever.”
It was part of a fundraising pitch common to presidential campaigns throughout the years: Anyone who met the requirements (U.S. citizens or lawful residents over 18) and clicked on a box to make a contribution (suggested amounts ranged from $35 to $2,700) was automatically entered to win, although a donation was not required.
The entry period ran from June 2 to midnight on June 25. This apparently gave the campaign less than three days until the June 28 dinner to choose and notify a winner and arrange the travel logistics, Secret Service vetting and other details. The winner would have had even less time to pick out what to wear.
The dinner was to be held in conjunction with a fundraiser where tickets prices started at $35,000. The lavish event drew criticism because it was held at Trump’s own hotel in Washington and continued a trend of Trump’s businesses making money from his campaign events. Trump’s ventures earned more than $14 million from his presidential bid last year.
The Trump hotel event benefited a pair of joint fundraising committees that mainly distribute their income to Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee. When Trump’s predecessor, President Barack Obama, raised money for his campaign and at Democratic Party events, press was generally allowed to cover his speeches. After pressure from the press corps, the White House said media would be allowed into Trump’s event. They changed their mind at the last minute and disinvited reporters.
Since the fundraiser was closed to the press, there is no public record of who the lucky winner was, or how much he or she enjoyed the experience. Many reporters flocked to Trump’s hotel on the night of the event though they were not allowed in the area where the event was held, and at least one was allegedly kicked out. Yahoo White House correspondent Hunter Walker set up shop in the hotel’s steakhouse, where Trump’s preferred table was reserved. Multiple sources said they expected Trump to dine at the steakhouse that evening, but the president never showed up.
Giving away dinners with political figures has become a common fundraising tool. Both Obama and Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democratic opponent in last year’s race, held similar contests. And both Obama and Clinton have revealed the names of the winners of these events.
Yahoo News contacted the Trump campaign to see if they would share the name of the lucky dinner winner. Michael Glassner, executive director of Trump’s campaign, referred us to the Republican National Committee, which he said organized the event, but the RNC has not responded to multiple requests for comment.
Someone must have won. Was it you? If you’d like to tell us about the dinner, let us know at: Iwasthere2017@yahoo.com
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