Trump Wades Into The Center Of The Swamp For First 2020 Fundraiser
June 28, 2017
“Trump said he would drain the swamp, but instead he redeveloped the land and put up a new hotel. He uses it to peddle the presidency and pad his own bank account. Americans deserve a president devoted to improving their access to healthcare, not one consumed with profiting from his position.”– DNC deputy communications director Adrienne Watson
Here is a look at some of the many ways Trump’s hotel has served as the center of the swamp:
Trump’s Old Post Office hotel was described as “the swamp hotel.”
TIME: “The swamp hotel: How Trump’s D.C. outpost became a dealmakers paradise for diplomats, lobbyists and insiders.”
TIME: “That’s partly because a President who once promised to ‘drain the swamp’ of influence peddling now owns the city’s newest bog. […] The place has been a magnet for the capital’s political class.”
Lobbyists tell clients that the Trump hotel lobby is a place politico’s gather, and one consultant called it the “new lobbyists’ lobby.”
Politico Magazine: Republican Government Relations Consultant: “We know that members of the administration frequent the hotel itself, so when we hear that the term ‘lobbyist’ was coined over at the Willard, now the new lobbyists’ lobby is probably the TrumpHotel.”
Politico Magazine: Republican operative for a trade association: “It’s just a great place to gather intel…on Friday night, you’re pretty much guaranteed to run into senior staff.”
Politico Magazine: Trump Counselor Kellyanne Conway: “They look at it as a piece of the president… So it’s become a very popular place to have dinner.”
Trump’s DC hotel used outdated servers and open Wi-Fi networks susceptible to hacking.
ProPublica: “Our inspections found weak and open Wi-Fi networks, wireless printers without passwords, servers with outdated and vulnerable software, and unencrypted login pages to back-end databases containing sensitive information.”
ProPublica: Dave Aitel, CEO of Immunity Inc. digital security company: “Those networks all have to be crawling with foreign intruders, not just Propublica.”
August 2015: Donald Trump called his Old Post Office hotel “a total conflict of interest.”
CHUCK TODD: “All right. Toss you a quick Facebook question. Michael Martinez asks, ‘Residents of the District of Columbia currently pay federal taxes but have only a non-voting delegate in the House of Representatives, no representation in the Senate. Should that policy continue as is? Should D.C. become a state? Should it not have to pay taxes? Should it be treated like Puerto Rico –‘”
DONALD TRUMP: “Well, bas –“
CHUCK TODD: “’How should D.C. residents be treated –‘”
DONALD TRUMP: “I have a conflict of interest because I'm building the greatest — you know, I'm building at the old post office I think what will be maybe one of the great hotels in the world –“ [Meet the Press, NBC, 8/16/15]
Money from foreign governments is rolling into Trump’s DC hotel and Trump has no plans to donate it all to the U.S. Treasury.
Less than ten days after Trump became president-elect, about 100 foreign diplomats gathered at Trump’s Old Post Office hotel for a sales pitch.
New York Magazine: HEADLINE: “Foreign diplomats are apparently lining up to do business at Trump’s D.C. hotel”
Washington Post: “About 100 foreign diplomats, from Brazil to Turkey, gathered at the Trump International Hotel this week to sip Trump-branded champagne, dine on sliders and hear a sales pitch about the U.S. president-elect’s newest hotel.”
Diplomats told the Washington Post that they planned to stay at Trump’s hotel in Washington, and one said it would be “rude” not to.
Washington Post: “‘Believe me, all the delegations will go there,’ said one Middle Eastern diplomat who recently toured the hotel and booked an overseas visitor. The diplomat said many stayed away from the hotel before the election for fear of a ‘Clinton backlash,’ but that now it’s the place to be seen.”
Washington Post: Asian diplomat on Trump’s Washington DC hotel: “Why wouldn’t I stay at his hotel blocks from the White House, so I can tell the new president, ‘I you’re your new hotel!’ Isn’t it rude to come to his city and say, ‘I am staying at your competitor?’”
Saudi Arabia has paid at least $270,000 to Trump’s DC hotel.
Government of Saudi Arabia paid for more than 100 U.S. veterans to come to DC to lobby against a bill allowing September 11th victims’ families to sue Saudi Arabia.
Yahoo: “But Michael Petruzello, managing director for Qorvis MSLGroup, the Washington D.C. lobbying firm that has long represented the Saudi government and arranged and paid for the veterans’ trips to the Trump Hotel, dismissed the idea that there was anything improper about the arrangements. Petruzello acknowledged that ‘hundreds’ of veterans had gone on the trips and that they were booked rooms at a discounted rate of about $300 a night. ‘They were staying [at the Trump Hotel] because that’s where they were getting a good rate,’ he said. ‘The insinuation that this was going to influence the administration, by staying at the hotel, that’s just silly.’”
Saudi Arabia paid Trump’s DC hotel at least $270,000 for lodging, catering, and parking between October 2016 and March 2017.
USA Today: “The Trump International Hotel recently took in about $270,000 in payments tied to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the country fights to roll back a U.S. terrorism law, according to newly filed lobbying reports. The spending, which covered lodging, catering and parking expenses, was disclosed in Justice Department filings last week by MSL Group Americas, a public relations firm. The filings detailed the work the firm engaged in between Oct. 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017 on behalf of the Saudis, Bahrain and other foreign governments.”
Since Trump’s election, his Old Post Office hotel has received funds from the governments of Bahrain, Kuwait, and Azerbaijan.
Following Trump’s election, Bahrain held a gala at his Old Post Office hotel.
TIME: “In December, diplomats from Bahrain shifted that country’s National Day festivities to Trump International’s gilded, 13,000-sq.-ft. presidential ballroom. As if on cue, Kuwait moved its own annual gala in February from the Four Seasons across town to TrumpInternational—even though the former location had already been reserved.”
The Azerbaijani embassy co-hosted a Hanukkah party at Trump’s DC hotel.
Washington Post: “The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations is co-hosting an early Hanukkah party next week at President-elect Donald Trump’s newly opened hotel blocks away from the White House.[…] The Azerbaijani Embassy is hosting the Dec. 14 party, with the Conference of Presidents as a co-host, and many of the 150 to 200 guests will also be attending a White House Hanukkah party that night, Hoenlein said.”
Kuwait held their February National Day celebration at Trump’s hotel instead of their regular DC venue.
Associated Press: “Salem Al-Sabah, Kuwait’s ambassador to the U.S., said the party would take place Feb. 25, adding that he hopes guests like the ‘new hotel in town.’ He said no one pressed him to move the Kuwaiti National Day event from its regular venue at the Four Seasons. Although Kuwait did not have a contract with the Four Seasons for the party, the date had been set aside for it to possibly take place there.”
Trump’s DC hotel played host to a conference run by the Turkish businessman who paid Michael Flynn more than $500,000 to lobby on behalf of the Turkish government.
NPR: “The Turkish businessman who paid Michael Flynn $530,000 to lobby for the Turkish government is heading up a conference held at the Trump International Hotel, a few blocks from both the White House and the FBI. The event comes at a time when all of Trump's tangled interests are being scrutinized, but that doesn't seem to bother the participants.”
Trump put out directive to agencies stonewalling congressional requests over his DC hotel on government-owned property.
Politico: “House Democrats are escalating their battle against a Trump administration directive instructing federal agencies not to respond to oversight requests issued by Democratic lawmakers. The White House acknowledged the new policy last week, backed by a Justice Department legal opinion that says individual members of the House and Senate don't have a special right to obtain executive branch information beyond the way members of the public can through Freedom of Information Act requests.”
Trump Organization told Congress they will not give all foreign profits to the Treasury Department, going against Trump’s trust plan for his business.
In January, Trump’s attorney announced a plan to donate “all profits” from foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury.
Trump Trust Plan: “To put to rest any concerns, however, the president-elect is announcing he will donate all profits from foreign governments’ patronage of his hotels and similar businesses during his presidential term to the U.S. treasury.”
Months later, Trump Organization told Congress they would not be able to identify every foreign government official that would pay them money.
New York Times: “As Donald J. Trump prepared to assume the presidency, he unveiled an ethics plan promising that his company would donate to the United States Treasury ‘all profits’ from foreign government patronage of his hotels. Several months later, the Trump Organization is finding that pledge daunting to keep. The company told Congress in a recent submission that it was all but impossible to identify every foreign government official who walked through the doors of its hotels. And investigating all its patrons, the organization argued, would interfere with its business and ask too much of customers.”