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Trump's high-dollar fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago will go on

With the government shut down, President Donald Trump isn't going to Mar-a-Lago as he planned for his high-dollar fun...

Posted: Jan. 21, 2018 8:52 AM
Updated: Jan. 21, 2018 8:52 AM

With the government shut down, President Donald Trump isn't going to Mar-a-Lago as he planned for his high-dollar fundraiser Saturday night.

But the party for supporters to celebrate the one-year anniversary of his inauguration will still go on, according to a person involved with the fundraiser.

Given the impasse on government spending, planners of the event were told it's unlikely Trump will make it to West Palm Beach to attend it himself.

Instead, Trump's son and daughter-in-law, Eric and Lara Trump, and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel will now be headlining the fundraising gala, another person familiar with the event told CNN.

Trump was scheduled to fly to his Florida estate on Friday and remain there for the weekend, but the White House scrapped the President's plans as a government shutdown seemed more likely. Now that Congress failed to pass a spending bill to fund the government before the Friday midnight deadline, Trump is bunkering in Washington until a deal is made.

"He's not leaving until this is finished," Trump's budget director, Mick Mulvaney, told reporters outside the White House on Friday.

Trump had been looking forward to the occasion, people who spoke with him on Friday said, describing him as upset at the prospect of canceling the entire Florida weekend.

Donors paid $100,000 a couple for tickets - or $250,000 a couple to participate in a roundtable with Trump. The proceeds go to the Trump Victory Fund, the joint fundraising effort between Trump's campaign and the Republican Party.

The plan for the six-figure fundraising event was to have cocktails and a photo-line on one side of the Donald J. Trump Grand Ballroom at Mar-a-Lago and dinner on the other side. Now cocktails have been moved inside the main Mediterranean-style house and the photo-line was scrubbed.

Preparations still ongoing "in case something happens"

Even as the chances of Trump traveling to Florida appear slim, workers at Mar-a-Lago were still making preparations Saturday morning just in case a deal is struck in Washington and Trump can fly to Palm Beach.

And while officials insist that he won't travel there while the government is shut down, his support staff have been told to be ready if a deal passes.

A person at Mar-a-Lago said security sweeps were still being conducted on the property Saturday morning as if Trump might arrive later. The person was told the move was precautionary "in case something happens."

The south Florida town of West Palm Beach also still has a heavy law enforcement presence.

On Friday, shortly after hearing Trump was canceling his trip, a Republican National Committee official told CNN that Trump could be beamed in by video to the fundraiser. The staff was instructed to set up video screens for Trump to deliver a message to the gathering. But by noon on Saturday, it wasn't clear whether the video had been recorded.

If he had flown to Mar-a-Lago as planned, the President would have to reimburse the government for using Air Force One for a political activity despite flying for official business as well.

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