There's nothing wrong with a president hosting a New Year's Eve party. There's quite a bit wrong with a president profiting from a New Year's Eve party.
A year ago, sandwiched between his election and his inauguration, Donald Trump hosted a soiree at Mar-a-Lago, the private resort he owns in Florida, with tickets costing more than $500 a piece. As we discussed at the time, the president-elect was effectively selling access to himself, with some of the money ending up in his own pocket.
Norm Eisen, who served as ethics counselor to President Obama, described the dynamic at the time as "atrocious."
Undeterred by the criticism, Trump did the same thing this year. The New York Times reported:
As he walked down the red carpet to begin his New Year's Eve celebrations Sunday night, President Trump stopped to predict "a tremendous year" ahead.
It certainly appeared to be getting off to a lavish start at his Mar-a-Lago club. Before the president arrived ... a string of guests decked out in jewels, fur and sequins had already streamed in, having paid hundreds of dollars each to celebrate with the president and his family.
Specifically, according to Politico, Trump's resort increased the price of admission to the party quite a bit, from $525 to $600 for Mar-a-Lago's dues-paying members, and from $575 to $750 for their guests.
This comes on top of the membership fee ($200,000) and annual dues ($14,000) Trump's wealthy customers already pay.
If you're curious who's writing all of these checks to the president's business, and what they're telling him during private audiences at Mar-a-Lago, too bad: Trump World won't disclose that information.