The sons of President Trump say their company is launching a new hotel chain inspired by their travels with their father's campaign. The Trump Organization, which is calling the new mid-market chain "American Idea," says it will start with three hotels in Mississippi. At a party at Manhattan's Trump Tower on Monday, Donald Trump Jr. said he and his brother, Eric, got a "crash course in America" while traveling across the country with their father's presidential campaign, the AP reports. "We saw so many places and towns and so many stories," he said. The first of dozens of hotels in another new Trump chain called "Scion" is under construction in Cleveland, Mississippi, the company says.
Scion is a four-star hotel chain meant to offer upscale service in US cities that could not support a full-fledged Trump luxury property. The four Mississippi hotels for both chains will be owned by Chawla Hotels. The Trump Organization will get management and franchise fees for the new ventures. Chawla Hotels CEO Dinesh Chawla says for the first three American Idea hotels (in Cleveland, Clarksdale, and Greenville), his company will renovate existing hotels, with each renovation costing up to $1.5 million. Ethics experts say the new hotel chains raise conflict of interest issues for the White House. "They're cashing in on the red states," says Kathleen Clark, a government ethics expert and law professor at Washington University in St. Louis. (Read more Trump Organization stories.)