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Trump throwing in-person White House Hanukkah party despite COVID concerns

Reception to be held afternoon of December 9, a day before the holiday’s first candle lighting, despite concerns previous White House events were coronavirus ‘superspreaders’

US President Donald Trump with, first lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, from left, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump and their children Arabella Kushner and Joseph Kushner, applaud during a Hanukkah reception in the East Room of the White House on December 11, 2019, in Washington. (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
US President Donald Trump with, first lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, from left, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump and their children Arabella Kushner and Joseph Kushner, applaud during a Hanukkah reception in the East Room of the White House on December 11, 2019, in Washington. (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Trump White House is throwing an in-person Hanukkah party, one of a series of recent events the administration has held despite coronavirus concerns.

The reception will be held Dec. 9 in the afternoon, a day before the holiday’s first candle lighting, according to an invitation obtained by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

US President Donald Trump has come under fire for holding a number of crowded events at the White House, including several that are believed to have spread the coronavirus. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease specialist, called the reception for recently confirmed Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett a “superspreader event.”

An invitation to the 2020 White House Hanukkah party (Courtesy/JTA)

Jewish staff held semi-formal Hanukkah parties during the Clinton administration, but George W. Bush was the first president to make them a formal event. President Barack Obama continued the tradition, increasing the parties to two per year to meet demand. Trump also has held two Hanukkah parties each year of his presidency.

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