News & Politics

Jill Kelley Plans a Party Wednesday at the Trump Hotel to Celebrate Donald Trump’s Victory

Remember the socialite who got caught up in the Petraeus scandal? She's supposedly angling for a position of influence in the administration.

Jill Kelley in Tampa in 2012. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)

Tampa socialite Jill Kelley and Tommy Hicks Jr., a Dallas businessman chummy with Donald Trump, are throwing an “exclusive reception for our victorious friends” at the Trump Hotel Wednesday night, according to an invitation shared with Washingtonian. “Mr. Donald Trump Jr.” will round out the hosting trio.

Kelley, the invitation’s author, writes the event is “in honor of the One Year Anniversary of the Election of President Donald Trump.”

“Our Vice President, Mike Pence, is also expected to attend,” the invite continues, “as well as many surprise guests, like Steve Bannon and Corey Lewandowski to celebrate this historic occasion.”

It’s tough to know, though, how Bannon would make this event—he’s currently speaking at a “unity dinner” for the Macomb County Republican Party in Michigan.

Kelley briefly crashed into national consciousness in 2012, after her name leaked during an investigation into David Petraeus’s personal life. Kelley enjoyed only a working relationship with the former general and CIA director, but she complained to the FBI after her husband received what she said were threatening emails from Paula Broadwell, who was writing a biography of Petraeus and also having an affair with him. Kelley sued the US government over the release of her name in the investigation, but dropped the lawsuit in 2016 after her lawyers removed themselves from the case due to “irreconcilable differences” with their client. Later that year, TV producers purchased the rights to her memoir, Collateral Damage: Petraeus, Power, Politics and the Abuse of Privacy.

According to a source close to the White House, Kelley has begun “lobbying hard” for a position of influence in Trump’s orbit.

Kelley currently runs Military Diplomacy Strategies, an international advisory firm. “As an Arabic speaker and well-connected expert in the Middle East, Jill Kelley spent years aiding our nation’s military with high-level engagements across the region,” says her rep, Brett Bruen, who confirmed the invitation’s authenticity. ” She continues to contribute time to serving civic and political causes, along with building a firm to help companies navigate global issues.”

The invite, addressed to “friends like you that were appointed to the White House,” says the reception will go from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Staff Writer

Elaina Plott joined Washingtonian in June 2016 as a staff writer. She has written about her past life as an Ann Coulter fangirl, how the Obamas changed Washington, and the rise and fall of Roll Call. She previously covered Congress for National Review. Her writing has appeared in the New York Observer, GQ, and Harper’s Bazaar.