President Donald Trump will attend the International Red Cross Ball at Mar-a-Lago Saturday night, an event expected to draw protests nearby.
The “president and Mrs. Trump will be attending the ball,” Red Cross spokeswoman Elizabeth Penniman said. It is not confirmed whether either Trump will speak.
The Red Cross ball, now in its 60th year, has frequently been held at the Palm Beach estate and Trump has attended in some past years. This will be Trump's first visit to his Palm Beach estate since he was inaugurated as president. He is expected to arrive in South Florida Friday afternoon.
The press pool spotted Stephen Bannon, a senior Trump adviser, and Reince Priebus, White House chief of staff, among those boarding Marine One which lifted off at 2:10 p.m. They departed on Air Force One headed to West Palm Beach at 2:26 p.m.
A protest is planned to coincide with the ball. Protesters are scheduled to march along the intracoastal waterway across from Mar-a-Lago. Activists are expected to protest Trump's refugee ban, among other actions he has taken as president. The Red Cross has offered to assist refugees but has taken no political stance on the ban.
Penniman would not release a fundraising total for the ball but said that “fundraising totals for the American Red Cross International Ball this year have surpassed previous years.”
Overall donations are on par with normal fundraising levels, she said.
Trump is expected to frequently visit his Mar-a-Lago estate, which has created traffic headaches for the locals and high security costs for law enforcement. In an interview with the Times of London he dismissed Camp David, the traditional presidential retreat, as “very rustic.”