Trump Hotel Cancels Inaugural Prayer Breakfast, Cites Security Concerns

Kathryn Watson | Reporter

Trump International Hotel executives canceled the facility’s contract to host the Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast on Jan. 20, citing security concerns, according to a letter obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group.

The Dec. 28. letter from Patricia Tang, the Washington, D.C., hotel’s director of marketing and sales, cited “reports of expected civil unrest” as the reason for canceling the contract the hotel entered into with event organizer Merrie Turner in September 2016, before President-elect Donald Trump won the election.

Multiple groups are planning anti-Trump protests in connection with the inauguration, and security for the many events associated with the swearing-in is proving to be a challenge.

“The circumstances surrounding the hotel from when you confirmed the booking in September 2016 until now have changed dramatically,” Tang told Turner in the letter. “As a result, we are enacting the force majeure clause in your agreement as there have been widely circulated reports of expected civil unrest over the inauguration week.”

The “force majeure” clause refers to acts of God and other uncontrollable circumstances. The letter apologized for canceling the Jan. 20 event, promised to return the $31,000 paid to date, charged nothing for printing costs associated with announcing the event, and offered several other venues suitable for 900 people. The letter also said the hotel asked the Presidential Inaugural Committee to consider making the breakfast an “official” inaugural event.

But Turner, according to a Friday post in Christian News Service (CNS), claimed the Presidential Inaugural Committee pressured the hotel to cancel the contract so the committee could use the space. The prayer breakfast’s website claims organizers do not plan to change the venue, despite the contract cancelation, and tickets were still on sale as of Friday night.

“It’s two weeks before the event and now I’m in a real bind,” Turner told CNS, saying her lawyers plan to file an injunction against the hotel over the cancelation. “These paying guests have put their trust in me for this event. To complicate matters more most of these guests are Trump supporters.”

Turner did not respond to TheDCNF’s requests for comment. The Presidential Inaugural Committee also did not respond. Tang refused to comment.

“We’re not commenting on anything to do with the inauguration,” Tang told TheDCNF, adding that she was happy to answer questions about the hotel itself.

Turner selected the venue because of its historic importance as the Old Postal Pavilion, and its proximity to the Capitol and White House, according to an October news release.

Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence are invited, along with all members of Congress. (RELATED: George W. Bush Will Attend Trump’s Inauguration)

The non-partisan, inter-denominational prayer breakfast dates back to 1993 when the event’s original host Ruth Ward Heflin gathered government officials, pastors and people of faith on Inauguration Day to pray for the presidency and ask for a spiritual outpouring on the country, according to the event’s website.

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