Donald Trump has only been in office for five months, but he already has his eyes on the 2020 election. The president managed to rake in more than $10 million at a re-election fundraiser, while protesters gathered outside to shout “Shame! Shame!”
The price tag to get into the event at Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC was a big one, at $35,000 per plate.
The costly dinner, however, did not seem to be a problem for some of US President Donald Trump’s biggest and richest supporters, with Republican National Committee (RNC) spokeswoman Lindsay Jancek telling AP ahead of the event that 300 people were expected.
Among the dinner’s most famous guests were Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn, along with television commentator Mica Mosbacher and Florida lobbyist and general election fundraiser Brian Ballard.
Nevada Senator Dean Heller was also present, despite being part of a small group of Republicans who spoke out against the Senate’s effort to repeal and replace Obamacare just one day before.
The event, which is taking place 40 months ahead of the 2020 election, seems to have paid off, with Trump managing to rake in $10 million.
While the fundraiser may seem incredibly early for a president who was only inaugurated in January, Jancek said she doesn’t think it’s out of the ordinary.
“He’s raising money for the party,” she said. “I don’t think that’s abnormal for any president.”
However, a sizable amount will go solely to Trump’s re-election campaign, according to AP. The rest will be spread among RNC and other Republican entities.
The press was not allowed inside the event, despite an announcement the previous day stating that a pool of reporters would be allowed inside.
“It’s a political event, and they’ve chosen to keep that separate,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
While Trump and his generous supporters were inside the lavish hotel, protesters gathered outside, holding signs with slogans including “Healthcare, not tax cuts,” and shouting “Shame! Shame!”
“I knew that xenophobia, racism, and misogyny was expected but I didn’t know it would cost $35,000 a plate,” Michael Delvone, the Washington DC director for the Working Families advocacy group and grassroots political organization told TIME. “Twenty-two million people stand to lose their health care and these folks are in there dining on caviar and lobster.”
Meanwhile, the fact that the event was held at Trump’s hotel has once again raised concerns about Trump’s financial interests in the companies he owns. Unlike previous presidents who divested from business holdings before taking office, Trump simply moved his business assets into a trust which he can take control of at any time.