President Donald Trump last week decried accusations that he’s been illicitly profiting off of the presidency, claiming to reporters without evidence that it’s actually cost him somewhere between $2 billion and $5 billion to stop running his personal businesses. Seemingly unconcerned with the criticism, the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. is set to charge nearly three times as much for a stay in its least expensive rooms on the night of Nov. 7, when Senate Republicans are scheduled to commence a two-day retreat on the premises.
Ethics watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) on Monday noticed the rate-hike and pointed out that the president’s hotel would be openly profiting from spending by lawmakers of his own political party.
“Filling the hotel with a who’s who of Republican power players serves as an invitation for anyone looking to influence the government, and the hotel’s role as a hot spot for influence peddling has helped to make it one of the few bright spots in Trump’s financial portfolio,” CREW’s Linnaea Honl-Stuenkel writes. “Since Trump never divested from his businesses when he became president, he stands to profit from the decision to host the Republican retreat at his hotel, and even more massively because of the spike in rates that evening.”
According to CREW, searches performed on October 23, 25, and 28, showed the hotel’s “premier” and “deluxe” rooms — the least expensive lodgings offered — cost $1,345 and $1,395 respectively for the night of Nov. 7, which is roughly three times as much as the average rate for said rooms. That night, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is set to begin hosting a two-day “Save the Senate” retreat for big donors, which will reportedly include an appearance from President Trump himself and at least eight current Republican Senators.
The president’s son Eric Trump, executive vice president of the Trump Organization, last week said the Trump family was entertaining the idea of selling the hotel. Why? Because of complaints about the Trump family making too much money off of the hotel in question. Several Washington, D.C. hospitality business owners, for instance, have filed a lawsuit against Trump. That lawsuit, which a federal appeals court recently resurrected, alleges that the president is unlawfully profiting off of the Trump International Hotel in violation of the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution.
“People are objecting to us making so much money on the hotel, and therefore we may be willing to sell,” Eric Trump told the Wall Street Journal. “Since we opened our doors, we have received tremendous interest in this hotel and as real estate developers, we are always willing to explore our options.”
[image via Mark Wilson_Getty Images]