National News

Sweepstakes winner will dine at Mar-a-Lago with Trump

Posted January 11, 2018 3:06 p.m. EST

PALM BEACH, Fla. -- For just $1, you and a friend could win dinner with President Trump, his family and friends at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday, Jan. 20, to celebrate the first anniversary of Trump's inauguration, according to a sweepstakes contest sponsored by a Trump campaign committee.

Trump Make America Great Again Committee sent an email announcing the sweepstakes on Monday, a day after public security alerts were issued about Trump's likely visit to Palm Beach County this weekend.

Although the White House has not confirmed this weekend's visit, the FAA has issued a warning to pilots to avoid airspace in the area from 6:15 p.m. on Friday through 8:30 p.m. on Monday, which is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Palm Beach town officials also issued a traffic alert Wednesday about road closures near Mar-a-Lago this weekend.

So it appears Trump will be in the county on consecutive weekends, something that is not uncommon for him. Seven of the 10 trips he has made to his Mar-a-Lago estate since becoming president were on back-to-back weekends.

It's also not uncommon for political parties or campaigns to sponsor sweepstakes for a meal with a president or presidential campaign. Republican Mitt Romney's campaign held a contest for a lunch with him and his wife in 2012, and Democrats held several such contests for lunch, dinner or a meeting with President Barack Obama.

According to the Trump-Pence sweepstakes email, "all it takes is any contribution of $1 or more before the deadline to be automatically entered for this once-in-a-lifetime chance." However, the fine print at the bottom of the email refutes the entry instructions: "NO PURCHASE, PAYMENT, OR CONTRIBUTION NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN."

Making a donation does not increase chances of winning, according to the rules. Two links are provided to enter: one for those wishing to contribute and another link for those who do not. The deadline is next Wednesday, Jan. 17, at 11:59 p.m.

The winner will receive round-trip airfare (coach) and one-night accommodations for two, along with tickets to the dinner. The estimated retail value is $3,000, according to the sweepstakes rules.

The committee will choose the airline, hotel, flight dates, flight times, and airport and "other trip logistics and details," according to the sweepstakes rules. The winner must also agree to let the Trump campaign use, royalty-free, the winner's name, hometown, photographs and recordings in campaign and advertising materials.

Fifty potential winners will be selected by the sponsor, Trump Make America Great Again Committee, on Jan. 18. The committee may conduct a background check and reserves the right to disqualify a winner based on the results of such a check or if it finds the winner might cause a "disruption" at the event.

If a winner is disqualified, the committee will select a winner based on criteria "to provide for an appropriate range of views, backgrounds and interests."

The sweepstakes dinner comes two days after the Trumpettes, a Trump fan club, will celebrate his first year in office at its Red, White and Blue Celebration on Jan. 18 at Mar-a-Lago.

At $300 a ticket, a relatively inexpensive ticket price for a Palm Beach gala, the event has sold out. Nearly 800 guests are expected and there is a waiting list of nearly 700, organizers said.

That event will likely be one of the largest events ever at Mar-a-Lago and certainly this year, after 21 charities cancelled their fund-raisers at Mar-a-Lago in response to Trump's comments after deadly August white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

It appears the president will return to Washington on Monday, Jan. 15, and fly back to Palm Beach later next week for the inauguration anniversary celebration. FAA warnings to pilots and road closures in Palm Beach are expected to be lifted on Monday, according to published reports.

Christine Stapleton writes for The Palm Beach Post. Email: cstapleton(at)

Story Filed By Cox Newspapers

For Use By Clients of the New York Times News Service