Donald Trump has called off plans to appear at the Trump International Hotel on election night and is likely to be at the White House instead, according to a person familiar with the plans.
Advisers had said privately that Trump was going to appear at his namesake hotel in Washington for an election night party that his campaign sent out multiple fund-raising solicitations for his supporters.
“November 3rd will go down in history as the night we won FOUR MORE YEARS. It will be absolutely EPIC, and the only thing that could make it better is having YOU there,” read one solicitation from the president that included an image of Trump and the first lady smiling under the words “join us on election night.”
It was unclear why the plans had changed. But the prospect of the president appearing on the night of the election at the hotel was certain to reinforce concerns about Trump mingling the office with his business.
It would also reinforce questions about whether the hotel would be in violation of Washington restrictions limiting gatherings to 50 people, to try to contain the spread of the coronavirus. And a party would have to be paid for by the campaign, which is facing a cash crunch in the final weeks of the race.
A spokesman for Trump declined to comment.
The last-minute change comes at a time when the president’s opponent, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., has maintained a substantial lead over Mr. Trump in national polls, and a smaller one in several key states.
For the last several days, Trump, who is deeply superstitious, has tried to recreate as much of the 2016 election conditions around himself as possible.
Aside from his blunt efforts to raise questions about business dealings by Mr. Biden’s younger son, Hunter, that parallel how he attacked Hillary Clinton in 2016, Mr. Trump has surrounded himself with the people he was within the final days of that race, such as David Bossie, who then served as the deputy campaign manager, as well as his adviser Hope Hicks and another campaign hand, Jason Miller.
Trump’s approach to politics has always been to treat it as something of a mystical proposition, governed by otherworldly forces in a world in which things generally work out in his favor. The voting results after a campaign in which Trump has been judged harshly by voters for his performance during the coronavirus pandemic could tell him a very different story.