Most people will be associating President Donald J. Trump with the White House. However, if people were paying closer attention, they would be focusing on another building down the street from the new president’s home. That building would be the Trump International Hotel. Recently, Donald Trump just finished renovating this hotel. Located only four blocks away from the White House, it’s likely that many government officials and dignitaries will stay at the hotel during visits to our nation’s capital.
This means that President Trump could be hauling in plenty of money from foreigners. Unfortunately for Trump, this could be bad news. Some people argue that the hotel violates the emoluments clause of the Constitution. This clause prevents the president from pocketing gifts from foreign governments. Every time a foreign dignitary swipes a credit card to pay for his or her hotel bill, Trump might be violating the law of the land.
After the election, there was talk of Trump selling off his business empire. If he did this, there would no concern at all about him violating the Constitution. However, President Trump ultimately decided not to do this. Instead, he passed off the management of his sprawling business empire to his two sons. President Trump will no longer have any daily say in the operation of his vast fortune. For some people, this is good enough. For many other folks, this hardly seems like a great way for the billionaire to act honestly in front of the American people.
The hotel is the most glaring conflict of interest for the new president. One Middle Eastern diplomat stated, “Believe me, all the delegations will go there.” In fact, the same Middle Eastern diplomat who reported this statement also admitted to just booking a stay at the Trump hotel for a friend! Critics of President Trump see this as one big cash cow for Trump and his family. In other words, they view it as a steady stream of gifts given to the President in violation of the Constitution.
Of course, there are folks who don’t believe this argument. One can easily view the hotel payments as fair compensation for services rendered. One could also compare it to the millions President Obama received from his books. Surely, foreign dignitaries bought Obama’s books to learn more about President Obama. This means royalties from foreigners steadily trickled into Obama’s bank account for the past eight years.
Still, Obama’s book royalties are small potatoes compared to a massive hotel. Additionally, there is the problem of a contract Trump signed when he built the hotel. In the contract, he agreed that no elected official would be allowed to own the hotel. After becoming the highest elected official in the land, there is certainly a problem with the contract at this point. Trump claims passing his business interests to his sons fulfills this part of the contract. We’ll see if the courts ultimately agree with this interpretation.
Finally, there was also the bizarre press conference recently held by Trump. At the press conference, spokesman Sean Spicer was asked about the conflicts regarding the hotel. During his response, he pivoted his remarks to brag about the hotel. “It’s an absolutely stunning hotel,” he boasted. “I encourage you to go there if you haven’t been by.” In other words, President Trump would even love the average American to visit the hotel for the purpose of dropping money into the President’s pocket.
What do you think about the hotel? Should Trump be forced to sell it? Do you think it’s just one way Democrats are being sore losers? Let us know!