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The United States bids farewell to the Trump hotel which offered luxury … and access

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Washington (AFP) Occupying an entire city block within walking distance of the White House, the Trump International Hotel is a glowing neo-Lassic palace steeped in more than a century of Washington lore.

The towering atrium features a huge skylight that stains the lobby bar in the winter sun as power brokers across the country savor $ 140 glasses of wine served in Hungarian crystal, or 10,000 goblets. $ of vintage Macallan scotch.

After a drink, guests with $ 385 to spend can rejuvenate with a “hydrafacial” skin treatment downstairs before reclining on designer linens in one of the 263 stately wood-paneled rooms.

“It’s a beautiful place,” exclaimed Sean Spicer, former White House spokesman, of the hotel, which is slated to become a Waldorf Astoria in the new year, ending six years of ownership of Donald Trump.

“It’s a place he’s very proud of, and I think it’s symbolic of the type of government he’s going to lead.”

Spicer turned out to be correct.

Trump has vowed to “drain the swamp” of corruption in Washington, but instead opened his own quagmire on Pennsylvania Avenue, inviting a dizzying array of conflicts of interest.

Donald Trump and his wife Melania at the dedication ceremony for the Trump International Hotel in Washington in 2016 CHIP SOMODEVILLA GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP / File

During Trump’s four years in power, the 19th-century Revival-style hotel has become a magnet for major donors, corporate lobbyists, and foreign governments looking to spend big in the hope. to gain influence.

“The law is totally on my side, which means the president cannot have a conflict of interest,” Trump said in 2016 when asked to mix his day-to-day work with promoting his sprawling business empire .

“Bribery”

The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) lobby group followed 150 officials from 77 foreign governments who visited Trump’s property during his presidency.

Protesters march past the Trump International Hotel as they participate in the Women’s March and Abortion Justice Rally in Washington, DC on October 2, 2021 MANDEL NGAN AFP / File

According to a congressional investigation, the Washington hotel received $ 3.7 million from countries including China, Kuwait, Turkey, India, Brazil and Romania.

The Philippines told a TV station in their country that its decision to use the hotel to celebrate Independence Day in 2018 was “a statement that we have a good relationship with this president.”

Customers have raised concerns about possible violations of anti-corruption provisions drafted by the country’s founders restricting the acceptance of gifts to office holders from foreigners.

“Donald Trump should never have been allowed to keep his hotel in Washington as president,” CREW director Noah Bookbinder said.

Donald Trump’s eldest sons Don Jr (L) and Eric (2L) took over the family business after the inauguration CHIP SOMODEVILLA GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP / File

“He should have parted ways with it along with the rest of his business before taking office. Instead, he spent four years using it for influence peddling and constitutional violations.”

In total, national political groups spent $ 3 million on the hotel on some 40 political events during the Trump era.

Special interest groups, such as the American Petroleum Institute, have often attended White House meetings alongside a hotel event, and many have achieved favorable political results, according to CREW.

AFP contacted the Trump Organization, but there was no response.

The former president handed over control of his businesses to his two grown sons and a director when he entered the White House, promising not to get involved while actually promoting the place at every opportunity.

Guests watch the third presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at the Trump International Hotel on October 19, 2016 ZACH GIBSON AFP / File

Meanwhile, the Trump Organization has pledged to donate its profits from foreign governments to the US Treasury.

Built in the 1890s, the 12-story former post office that houses the Trump International is the third tallest building in the capital, after the Washington Monument and the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

$ 12,000 per night

Scheduled for demolition on several occasions, she was bailed out in 2011 when Trump tricked Hilton and Hyatt with an offer pledging to invest $ 200 million in a makeover.

The hotel opened in fall 2016, months before Trump entered the White House, making the new president his own landlord, in violation of a provision prohibiting elected officials from “sharing” the lease.

An AFP review of rates found the cheapest room around the end of November would cost $ 512 per night. One night in the Franklin Suite, including breakfast in bed, was available for $ 12,109.98.

Donald Trump, pictured folding for his daughter Ivanka when the hotel opened in 2016, has drawn criticism over his many conflicts of interest CHIP SOMODEVILLA GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP / File

But the sky-high prices didn’t translate into profits.

Congressional investigators discovered that the hotel lost more than $ 70 million during Trump’s presidency, concluding that it had “grossly exaggerated” its profits.

The Trump organization called the report “intentionally misleading, irresponsible and unequivocally false” and called it “political harassment.”

But U.S. media reports have pointed to weak occupation as Trump International struggled to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Trump Organization sold the lease for $ 375 million to an investment fund, which plans to reopen the hotel in the first months of 2022 as the Waldorf Astoria.

“Selling it now that it is no longer in office and the scam has dried up is, to say the least, too little, too late.”

Sources

1/ https://Google.com/

2/ https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20211129-us-bids-farewell-to-trump-hotel-that-offered-luxury-and-access

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