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Vanilla Ice defends appearance at Trump NYE party; lawmaker seeks fine, closure over maskless guests

Vanilla Ice, Robert Matthew Van Winkle
Trump Mar a Lago
Posted at 10:40 AM, Jan 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-05 10:40:48-05

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Rapper Vanilla Ice is defending his decision to perform and attend the annual Trump New Year's Eve party at his Palm Beach Mar-a-Lago resort, according to WPTV. Reports indicate most of the estimated 500 attendees did not wear masks or follow social distancing guidelines.

Donald Trump Jr. shared a public video on his Facebook page that showed the 53-year-old Wellington rapper performing his 1989 hit song "Ice Ice Baby" and a cover of Wild Cherry's "Play That Funky Music" on stage to a mostly maskless crowd.

"Ok this is amazing," Trump Jr. wrote on social media. "Vanilla Ice is playing the Mar-a-Lago New Years Eve party. As a child of the 90s you can't fathom how awesome that is. Beyond that I got the birthday shoutout so that's pretty amazing."

Vanilla Ice, whose legal name is Robert Van Winkle, was criticized on social media for attending. He responded with a statement saying the event was "awesome."

"We danced. We celebrated. We had a great time," he said. "It was a very classy event at a beautiful Palm Beach landmark."

He also said everyone in attendance had been cleared after taking COVID-19 tests prior to the event.

"I think everyone just wants to get out and dance and have fun," he said. "We've all been marinating, trapped in our houses. It's not about politics at all. This is about dancing and enjoying New Year's."

Palm Beach County officials said they are reviewing a complaint from Democratic state representative Omari Hardy, who is asking for an investigation and that the resort be fined and closed down for violating local mask orders.

“You are correct that there is a mask order in place in Palm Beach County and all individuals need to be in compliance with that law,” Todd Bonlarron, assistant Palm Beach County administrator wrote to Hardy, according to the Washington Post. “We take these allegations very seriously as we do every complaint we have received regarding an individual or a business related to compliance issues.”

Hardy is calling on county officials to take action against Mar-a-Lago out of fairness to local businesses that have obeyed local ordinances, and others who have already been punished for violating them.

Video and images from the New Year's Eve party at Mar-a-Lago shows attendees singing and dancing with rapper Vanilla Ice.

“They put their desire to have fun over the health of our residents,” Hardy told the Washington Post. “Imagine the most reckless thing you could possibly do, and that’s what they did. And they smiled and they laughed and they posted it on social media. They have no shame about it.”

President Donald Trump did not attend the party, instead he abruptly flew back to Washington D.C. earlier in the day. Trump's sons and significant others were there, according to images.