Trump May Use New Hotel to Profit Directly From Presidency

Foreign diplomats are already thinking of staying there to get in his good graces
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 19, 2016 12:04 PM CST

(Newser) – The new Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, may do booming business in the next few years as foreign diplomats and others try to get in the president's good graces, the Washington Post reports. Donald Trump's new hotel hosted dozens of diplomats on Tuesday, serving them Trump-brand champagne, giving them tours of the facilities, and sending them home with chocolates. The question on everyone's mind was, "How are we going to build ties with the new administration?" an attendee says. It seems one answer to that question is to stay at Trump International Hotel. "Isn’t it rude to come to his city and say, ‘I am staying at your competitor?’” a diplomat from Asia asks.

Trump International Hotel is basically a way for Trump to profit directly from the presidency, reports Mediaite, which also notes that the lease for the hotel is held by the federal government. And while Trump profiting from diplomats, corporate leaders (who were also invited to the hotel this week), and others staying at his hotel isn't illegal, it raises concern among ethics experts. "It can be questioned and looked at in a very poor light, as though you are trying to buy influence via a hotel bill,” a former Mexican ambassador to the US tells the Post. The diplomatic community in Washington, DC, spends millions on hotels every year. Meanwhile, New York Magazine reports a number of NBA teams are changing their travel plans to avoid staying at Trump properties. (Read more Donald Trump stories.)

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