After a national outcry over the blatant conflict of interest and warnings from Republican senators that they were reaching their limit of what they could defend, President Donald Trump backed off his plan to host next year’s G-7 summit at the Trump National Doral golf resort.
But as Zach Everson noted in The Daily Beast, this was only one incident in a vast tapestry of apparent grifting and profiteering by the president at his own properties.
“Spoiler alert: President Trump never did build that wall he promised. You know, the one between his administration and his business,” wrote Everson. “Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney flat-out … [told] Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Sunday that the president ‘was honestly surprised at the level of pushback. At the end of the day he still considers himself to be in the hospitality business.'”
“Despite a pledge two years ago to venture elsewhere, the steakhouse in his hotel remains the only D.C. restaurant he’s been known to eat at while in office. His frequent area golf games almost always are played at his Sterling, Virginia course. He vacations at Bedminster and Mar-a-Lago,” wrote Everson. “By The New York Times’ count, he’s called on one of his properties, visiting 13 different of them in all, on 308 of his 1,002 days in office. And he’s repeatedly plugged his businesses—and their patrons—to his millions of followers on Facebook and Twitter.
Furthermore, he continued, “In December of 2017, The Daily Beast’s Betsy Woodruff had the scoop that the Trump Hotel D.C.’s director of revenue management claimed he’d briefed the president on banquet revenues, demographics, and whether ‘his presidency hurt the business.’ Last month, The New York Times reported that current and former White House officials said Trump ‘remains intimately involved with club minutiae, like knowing all the names on his Mar-a-Lago membership roll.’ And Sunday morning, Politico quoted a former White House staffer recounting that Trump ‘talks up his properties every chance he gets with anyone—with staff, with members of Congress, with the press, with the public, with foreign leaders, with anyone.'”
“So nearly three years into Trump’s presidency, it’s no surprise that at least 27 of 53 GOP Senators—more than half—have been seen at the Trump Hotel D.C. or spent campaign funds there,” continued Everson. “Or that 25 of the 33 officials to have served in Trump’s cabinet have been spotted there, as have officials from 29 different foreign governments. If the G7 were held at Doral, it would’ve been the sixth different Trump property Japan’s prime minister had visited since their owner’s election. (While reports indicated some foreign leaders were dismayed about the choice of Doral, it seems safe to assume Shinzo Abe wasn’t one of them: he’s probably just a night or two at a Trump property shy of a free stay in an Ivanka suite.)”
“While Trump had said he wouldn’t be profiting off the G7 at Doral (whatever that would have meant), don’t discount his ability to still squeeze a few dollars, euros, pounds, yen, and loonies out of the summit, wherever it’s held,” wrote Everson. “Camp David, after all, is just an 80-minute drive from both his D.C. hotel and golf course.”
“As for Mulvaney, when he inevitably tries to walk back his latest bit of refreshing candor, keep in mind that he’s well versed on the president’s hospitality business,” concluded Everson. “After all, Mulvaney’s not just Trump’s acting chief of staff and director of the Office of Management and Budget, he’s also a repeat Trump customer.”
You can read more here (subscription required).