December 10 The Washington Post quoted two U.S. officials on the 10th that the U.S. State Department held a banquet in Blair House on the evening of the 8th, entertaining about 200 guests. The U.S. State Department’s behavior of holding a banquet in defiance of public health experts has triggered condemnation from internal employees and external public opinion.
The event reportedly included a tour of the White House’s holiday decorations and then a dinner party at Blair House. Guests mainly included foreign diplomats and their families, U.S. staff and other personnel invited by the Department of State Protocol. On the same day, ambassadors including Afghanistan, Egypt, South Korea and Guatemala attended the event.
A spokesman for the U.S. State Department said that the “festival cheer” reception originally scheduled after the visit on that day was cancelled due to concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus, but two bars were opened in the reception hall, where staff wearing masks poured wine with holiday-themed paper cups. The guests at the scene took off their masks and drank drinks, and people gathered together without social distancing, according to two officials.
According to the two officials, on the night of the 8th event, the children also received gifts marked “do the best” from First Lady Melania, such as backpacks, Frisbees and water bottles. The U.S. State Department has stockpiled a large number of “do the best” gifts, which will be distributed when the first lady travels abroad. A U.S. official said that when Trump cannot be re-elected, State Department officials need to find a place for the surplus gift bags.
According to reports, the evening event on the 8th is one of the series of activities sponsored by the U.S. State Department. Secretary of State Pompeo will hold two more receptions next week, one of which will invite more than 900 people. Some parliamentarians called on Pompeo to cancel the party. The American Foreign Service Association reminds the State Department to act responsibly and hosts virtual holiday gatherings. Hosting a feast not only violates the health advice of the CDC, but also violates the health regulations of the District of Washington, D.C.