Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Donald Trump is selling his Washington hotel and a form of influence

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Cole Hanson
Cole Hanson
"Extreme twitteraholic. Passionate travel nerd. Hardcore zombie trailblazer. Web fanatic. Evil bacon geek."

(Washington) Twelve-story tower, not far from the White House: Donald Trump is on the verge of abandoning his Washington hotel, where lobbies, donors and foreign governments once swarmed, all willing to spend a lot in hopes of gaining some leverage. with the president.

Frankie Taggart
France media agency

The Trump International Hotel, located in a 19th century Revival style building, is closed.

Built in the 1890s, the 12-story building was formerly a post office, and is the third tallest building in the US capital.

After being convicted of demolition multiple times, the building was narrowly saved in 2011 when Donald Trump pledged to invest $200 million in its renovation.

The hotel opened in the fall of 2016, a few months before Donald Trump entered the White House.

A huge skylight lights up the bar where you drink $140 glasses of wine served at Hungarian Crystal, before a night in the $12,000 Franklin Suite, including breakfast.

“It’s a place I’m very proud of. I think it represents the kind of administration he’s going to lead,” said Sean Spicer, a spokesman for Donald Trump at his first White House press conference in January 2017.

“Conflict of interest”

By assuming the presidency, Donald Trump entrusted control of his real estate empire to his two eldest sons, and promised not to interfere with his property business.

In fact, he promoted it at every possible opportunity and the Trump International Hotel retained its influence.

During his presidency, 150 officials from 77 foreign countries visited the property of the Republican billionaire, according to the anti-corruption NGO CREW.

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American political groups spent a total of $3 million to organize about 40 events at the hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue.

According to the NGO, influential groups such as the American Petroleum Institute have frequently organized events at the hotel after meetings at the White House. Many of them have had beneficial political repercussions.

Elected on a promise to “clean up” Washington’s backwaters, “Donald Trump should never have been allowed to keep his hotel,” CREW president Noah Bookbinder denounced.

Asked about blending his presidential powers with promoting his sprawling real estate empire, Donald Trump defended himself in 2016: “The law is totally on my side, presidents can’t have a conflict of interest.”

70 million dollars in losses

However, the survival of the Trump International Hotel was short-lived.

A parliamentary investigation concluded that the hotel lost more than $70 million under Trump, believing it “significantly exaggerated” its profits.

The Trump Organization called the report “deliberately misleading, irresponsible and unequivocally wrong” and called it “political harassment.”

The group did not follow up on AFP’s requests.

But many US media reported a very low occupancy rate, particularly due to the pandemic.

Subsequently, the Trump Organization allocated the building’s rent in the declared amount of $375 million to an investment fund, which plans to reopen the hotel in the first months of 2022 under the Waldorf Astoria name.

This did not satisfy the critics.

“Sell it now, when he is no longer in power, that the deception has subsided,” the CREW chief notes, “It is too late, it is too late.”

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