The Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. is seemingly looking to profit from President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, a tacit admission of the reality that its namesake, Donald Trump, still refuses to accept. As the president takes to Twitter to express confidence about his latest futile effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election when Congress meets to formalize Biden’s victory next week, Trump’s Washington hotel is ramping up room rates and requiring a two-night minimum stay during the inauguration, an apparent attempt to capitalize on his successor’s swearing-in ceremony and anyone coming to town to witness it. Politico reports that a room running in the $400 range during most of the rest of January costs $2,225 per night for January 19 and 20, even as a receptionist at the Trump hotel said there are no inauguration specials and a spokesperson for the hotel, asked the same question, refused to answer, instead referring Politico to the hotel’s website. A reservation specialist said there were “plenty” of rooms available, according to Politico.
Other hotels in Washington, hurting in the midst of the pandemic’s travel slowdown, are also reportedly hiking up their rates in anticipation of demand for rooms among those attending the scaled-back event. The Biden inaugural committee is encouraging average Americans not to attend the event and to refrain from gathering during the inauguration, which will be significantly limited to the public: members of Congress—who typically receive 200,000 tickets to distribute among their constituents for inaugurations—will this year receive a ticket only for themselves and one guest, the Washington Post reports. According to Politico, while there will be no actual inaugural balls, the Rosewood hotel in Georgetown is offering an “intimate inaugural ball” for as many as six people, a three-night package starting at $4,000 a night that includes a catered in-room screening of the ceremony and a reception with hors d’oeuvres.
The worsening pandemic has transformed the January celebration. There will be some form of a parade, but it will be much smaller in scope and likely involve a virtual component. Other long-standing inaugural activities have been cancelled due to coronavirus-related concerns, including the post-inauguration luncheon where congressional leaders formally welcome the new president and vice president. Earlier this week, the Presidential Inaugural Committee announced that this year’s inaugural activities will include a lighting ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool to commemorate those who have died from the coronavirus. The event will take place on January 19, one day before Biden’s swearing-in at the Capitol, and the committee is encouraging others nationwide “to light buildings and ring church bells at the same time,” according to the Post. Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s inauguration “represents the beginning of a new national journey,” inaugural committee spokeswoman Pili Tobar said, yet as Americans across the country mourn the loss of loved ones, emphasized the need to “honor those who have died, reflect on what has been one of the more challenging periods in the nation’s history, and renew our commitment to coming together to end the pandemic and rebuild our nation.”
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