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Were Guests at Trump’s White House Event Paid and Required to Sign NDAs?
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Were Guests at Trump’s White House Event Paid and Required to Sign NDAs?

No, though some had their travel expenses covered by a private organization.

President Trump held his first in-person event since his COVID diagnosis at the White House last Saturday—almost a week after returning from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He addressed hundreds of guests on the South Lawn, which according to the Trump administration and military officials, was an official White House event referred to as a “Peaceful Protest for Law and Order.”

A viral Facebook post claims that attendees of this event were paid and asked to sign non-disclosure agreements: “ABC News has confirmed that attendees to Trump WH Rally were paid. $150.ea and had to sign an NDA.”

Many of the attendees also participated in a “BLEXIT Back the Blue” event that took place, according to the ABC News story, “on the Ellipse between the White House and the Washington Monument,” and then later participants heard the president speak on the South Lawn.

The BLEXIT Foundation, which describes itself as aiming “to uplift and empower minorities to realize the American Dream,” is an organization founded in 2018 by Candance Owens and Brandon Tatum that seeks to get black voters to join the Republican party. Owens has described the Democratic party as the “Democratic Plantation.”

ABC News also reported that “Some guests … had their travel and lodging paid for” by Owens’ group. There is no mention of a $150 stipend or non-disclosure agreements.

Owens promoted a BLEXIT event in an Instagram post last week, describing the event as “a massive demonstration against the media narrative.” She also adds in her caption that they will be “giving away a limited amount of travel stipends …”

Owens later tweeted the following on October 10:

A spokesman for the White House, Judd Deere, told ABC that the White House was “not involved in covering any cost.” ABC noted that they were unsure how many of the attendees had transportation and lodging costs covered by BLEXIT. 

While it is true that some attendees received travel stipends, it is incorrect to say that all attendees were paid to be there, and ABC News did not report that guests had to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

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Photograph by Samuel Corum/Getty Images.

Khaya Himmelman is a fact checker for The Dispatch. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and Barnard College.