- Shannon Donnelly Palm Beach Daily News
At the 60th anniversary Red Cross Ball, there was nothing political on the menu — unless you count the President and First Lady; eight foreign ambassadors to the US; nobility from England, France and Italy; several US ambassadors; a Cabinet member; and the Chilean sea bass.
Even the bombastic President Donald Trump, who likes to stir up more things than Julia Child, kept his remarks brief, moderate and cheerfully relaxed.
Amazing what 24 hours away from Washington and its weather will do for a guy.
The event “From Vienna to Versailles,” took place Saturday night at the Mar-a-Lago Club, which was done up in Old World 18th-century style, right down to the service staff in powdered wigs and satin knee breeches or Marie Antoinette dresses.
“Yes,” said one server, when asked if the wig was hot. “And it weighs four pounds.”
The night began with the diplomatic receiving line and cocktails around the balustraded pool, a fireworks display over the Intracoastal which gave the smattering of protesters the best views, and classical music by Hapzburg-costumed musicians.
After cocktails, the crowd moved to the Grand Ballroom — conceived and constructed to look like Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors, making it the perfect foil for the gold-rimmed china and snow-white table linens and mounds of all-white flowers — for the presentation of the colors by the Marines from the local ANGLICO unit, and the diplomatic procession which ended with the introduction of the President and First Lady.
Make no mistake; this evening was definitely the victory lap for Donald, who had wore a “That’s right everybody; I’m the President” grin as he was greeted by thunderous applause.
Or maybe that was a plane taking off.
The night continued with remarks from chairwoman Janet Cafaro, honorary chairman Patrick Park — who will soon be ambassador to Austria so he was really loving’ the Vienna thing — and the President, who shook not a single stick but instead spoke about the Red Cross and its humanitarian mission.
Then the microphones were put away and it was dinner, champagne, and dancing into the night until folks started waving their white napkins in surrender.
Except the Marines. No surrender there.