WASHINGTON – Local residents making their way home from work in the nation’s capital Thursday evening were greeted with traffic congestion due to a Democratic Party fundraiser President Obama was attending in downtown D.C.
Commuters honked their horns in frustration during standstill rush hour traffic, even taking to Twitter to vent about the inconvenience, while the president and about two dozen supporters ate dinner several blocks north of the White House in downtown D.C. at the Jefferson Hotel.
The fundraiser, closed to the press, was for the Democratic National Committee and “two dozen supporters” were expected as guests for the evening with the president, The Associated Press reports.
Tickets for the fundraiser cost $32,400 a piece, “which means Obama filled the Democratic National Committee’s coffers with nearly $400,000,” according to the AP.
Keith Koffler, veteran White House reporter who runs the blog White House Dossier, estimated the total raised to be closer to $800,000.
“Officials say media coverage was not allowed because Obama was not making any formal remarks,” the AP reports. Outside of the event, “several dozen people” were protesting against the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
While Obama was scheduled to attend the event at 5:30pm ET, according to the White House schedule, commuters observed that the traffic jam began much earlier.
At 5:32pm ET, Joe Greely — product manager at the political consulting firm CRAFT | Media/Digital — tweeted, “And all of K Street has been at a standstill for 20 minutes waiting for the POTUS motorcade to pass.
The DC Circulator, a local bus system, tweeted that due to “police activity and street closures” commuters should expect “extreme delays” along the Georgetown, Adams Morgan and Dupont/Rosslyn routes around the city.
One commuter described the situation near Farragut Square, which is three city blocks from the Jefferson Hotel, as a “parking lot;” another commuter called the traffic a “clusterfuck.”
The president also had dinner at the Jefferson Hotel with the House Democratic Caucus in May, a dozen Senate Democrats in April, and 12 Republican senators in March. Obama reportedly paid for the dinner in March out of his own pocket.
It was during that same dinner that Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul filibustered the confirmation of CIA Director John Brennan for nearly 13 hours in order to obtain an answer from Attorney General Eric Holder on whether the president had the legal authority to assassinate American citizens with drones on U.S. soil.