Trump to New Year’s Eve guests: 2018’s ‘going to be something very, very special’

President Donald Trump rang in 2018 with shout-outs to his billionaire friends and a warning to his “enemies” during short remarks just before midnight at his posh South Florida club. It’s a yearly tradition at Mar-a-Lago: As the ball gown- and tuxedo-clad crowd waits for the stroke of midnight, the estate’s owner mounts the stage to commemorate the passing of the year or New Year’s Eve.

On his first New Year’s Eve as President, Trump heralded the accomplishments of his first 12 months in office, but acknowledged it hadn’t been easy. “We’re going to have a great 2018. It’s going to be something very, very special. It’s all kicking in,” he said, according to a recording of his remarks obtained by CNN. “We have some pretty good enemies out there, but step by step they’re being defeated. They’re some bad people. Bad people. But that’s ok. Someday maybe they’ll love us. I don’t know.”

It was a characteristically combative way for Trump to welcome the new year. In public and in private, Trump has spent much of his time in office going after those who challenge his decisions or stand in his way.

At his annual New Year’s Eve bash, Trump appeared in a festive mood, according to guests who attended. He smiled for photos and shook hands with guests who paid upwards of $750 for a ticket. He even danced — briefly — as a band played Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.”

On the red carpet, Trump told reporters gathered outside his ornate Louis XIV-style ballroom that 2018 would be a “tremendous year.” He was joined by his wife, Melania, glittering in rose-colored sequins, and his 11-year-old son, Barron.

Over a familiar menu that included an iceberg wedge salad — dripping with Roquefort dressing and bacon — dinner rolls, Maine lobster ravioli, sliced beef tenderloin, pan-seared sea bass, and baked Alaska for dessert, Trump rubbed elbows with at least one subset of Palm Beach’s social crowd.

For Trump it was a welcome dose of familiarity after a year that’s upended much of the life he’d enjoyed for the past several decades. Even at Mar-a-Lago, his breezy oceanfront club, changes have encroached. Secret Service agents now stand sentry outside the gates, and a velvet rope surrounds the President’s dinner table.

Still, Trump has been able to enjoy his old customs while on his 10-night stay here. He’s spent part of most days on the golf course, as did his predecessor Barack Obama while on vacation in Hawaii. He has also spent long stretches of time with a US Senator and Florida’s governor, made phone calls to troops on Christmas Eve and journeyed to a local firehouse to thank first responders.

On Saturday, Trump invited a pack of his supporters gathered on his motorcade route into his manicured resort for a photo. He emerged in his golf wear to flash a thumbs-up and thank them for standing with signs outside a gas station as his car sped past.

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