At Party for Donald Trump Jr.’s Girlfriend, Donors Helped Pick Up the Tab

Ms. Wren said in a statement that she had been friends with Ms. Guilfoyle for several years and “volunteered to assist Kimberly during her birthday party celebrations.”

“This was not a campaign event, nor an R.N.C. event,” she continued, “and anything I assisted with was in my private and personal capacity.”

Michael Ahrens, a spokesman for the R.N.C., said that the party committee and Trump Victory “were not involved in the organization or financing” of Ms. Guilfoyle’s party.

The White House declined to comment on the party, and why the president did not pay for it himself.

The chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, who spent time at Mar-a-Lago during the retreat but did not attend the birthday party, fell ill after the weekend, as did a fund-raiser who works with Ms. Guilfoyle. Both are awaiting results of tests for the coronavirus.

The birthday party had the feel of a Trump campaign event, according to attendees. The invitees included a panoply of administration officials, campaign figures, political allies and major donors to Trump Victory, many of them both personal and professional friends to Ms. Guilfoyle.

Ivanka Trump thanked Ms. Guilfoyle for working “so, so hard for the president,” a video of the event showed. After the president joined the crowd in singing happy birthday to Ms. Guilfoyle, she chanted, “Four more years!”

And Donald Trump Jr. reportedly joked that Ms. Guilfoyle would be soliciting contributions for his father’s re-election from party attendees.

“You are in this room for a reason,” he said, according to The Washington Examiner. “You guys have been the warriors, the fighters, the people who have been there every time we have made a call, every time we made a request.”

The money given to pay for the party went to Mar-a-Lago, though it is unclear if each donor individually paid the club, or if the money was pooled and paid to the club by a member, who could put the expenses on an account. Donald Trump Jr. and another attendee, John W. Giordano, a lawyer and Republican donor, are members of the club. People involved in the planning said the attendees were not solicited as part of an organized fund-raising effort.

Ms. Guilfoyle declined to answer detailed questions about the party, including who facilitated the contributions. In an email, a spokeswoman for Ms. Guilfoyle said: “All of the people who offered to support this evening have been longtime friends of Kimberly’s. None of them have to donate to see her.”

But one of the donors, Madhavan Padmakumar, an information technology executive from New York, said he had never met Ms. Guilfoyle. Mr. Padmakumar traveled to Palm Beach as part of a delegation of Indian-Americans attending the Republican Party donor retreat.

Mr. Padmakumar said he attended Ms. Guilfoyle’s party with a leader of the Indian-American delegation, Al Mason, a real estate investor and Trump fund-raiser who is friendly with Ms. Guilfoyle. Mr. Padmakumar agreed to pay $10,000 to help fund the celebration because “I was keen to have my name promoted,” he said in the text message. He noted that he was “announced” as one of the “sponsors of the party.”

He also said he donated to Mr. Trump’s campaign at the retreat.

Mr. Padmakumar, who had never visited Mar-a-Lago, said he “always wanted to go and see” it, and recalled seeing the president and his family “all cut the cake.”

Others who contributed funds for the party were longer-term supporters of Mr. Trump’s campaign.

They included the New York supermarket billionaire John A. Catsimatidis, who chipped in $10,000, according to people familiar with the arrangement. His daughter Andrea Catsimatidis, a longtime friend of Ms. Guilfoyle’s, attended the party.

In a statement, Mr. Catsimatidis described his donation as strictly motivated by a two-decade friendship with Ms. Guilfoyle. “I am always happy to support my friends,” he said.

Another contributor to the festivities was Catharine P. O’Neill, whose father is a major Trump donor. She worked as a staff assistant in the State Department after Mr. Trump took office and became a fixture in Washington’s pro-Trump social scene.

Also helping to finance the celebration was Mr. Giordano, who had advised Mr. Trump’s campaign and transition and had been rumored to be in contention for a position in his administration as a United States attorney. He is a partner in the government-affairs division of Archer, a Philadelphia-area law firm with a substantial lobbying business.

The key question in determining whether the arrangement crossed legal lines, said Mr. Fischer of the Campaign Legal Center, could be whether the attendees who contributed to the party would have done so even if Mr. Trump were not the president running for re-election.

He said that if the donors gave only because Mr. Trump is a candidate, then “there could be an argument that they made contributions to Trump’s campaign,” which would need to be reported to the Federal Election Commission.

Another attendee who is friendly with Ms. Guilfoyle asked the head of a Miami marketing and advertising agency to provide liquor for an after-party. The marketing executive turned to a Florida tequila company, Don Sueños, which sent over two cases for Ms. Guilfoyle’s party.

It was “just to get our name out there,” said Tre Zimmerman, whose wife is the company’s owner. “I don’t know Kimberly.”

Not all the attendees were asked to contribute, said Doug Deason, a Dallas businessman and Trump donor. Mr. Deason was invited by Ms. Guilfoyle after they chatted at the Trump International Hotel in Washington a week earlier.

“I was not asked to sponsor her birthday party and I don’t know of anyone who was,” Mr. Deason said in a text message. Mr. Deason said he and his wife were seated at a table “right behind the head table,” but left before “the dancing.”

A video shows partygoers forming a “Trump Train” conga line to the song “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You,” by Gloria Estefan.

Kenneth P. Vogel reported from Washington, and Steve Eder and Nicholas Confessore from New York. Maggie Haberman contributed reporting from New York. Susan Beachy contributed research.

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