President Donald Trump’s Trump International Hotel on federal property in downtown Washington will make a mint for him as guests enjoy a July 4th extravaganza paid for by taxpayers — and featuring the president.
Rooms were sold out for July 3 and July 4 by mid-June, according to the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, an advocacy group that targets government corruption. Rooms for July 5 were still available Thursday from $964 a night to $4,200 a night for a “premier one-bedroom suite.”
The hotel, located in the U.S.-owned Old Post Office building, is at the heart of two major lawsuits claiming it serves as a funnel for money to the Trump family from foreign countries seeking White House favors. Trump earned nearly $41 million from the hotel last year after reneging on a campaign promise to divest from his businesses, according to financial disclosure statements. Ivanka Trump pulled in $4 million from her share in the hotel last year as she worked as a White House adviser.
The hotel is just blocks from the National Mall, where the annual July 4th national blowout is being overhauled by Trump into a partisan “Salute to America” that will include a speech by him, a parade with lots of military bluster and the first-ever flyover of military jets, according to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.
Presidents traditionally don’t appear at the celebration in order to preserve its nonpartisan character as a national fete for all. The National Park Service has referred to this year’s event as “President Donald Trump’s Independence Day celebration,” according to The Washington Post.
“No [other] modern president has so blatantly profited from his political position before or centered the 4th of July celebration so squarely around himself,” complained Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington.
The Park Service has staged the traditional fireworks on the Mall for more than half a century, attended by hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. The celebration has been broadcast live on TV since 1947 and has included a free concert on the West Lawn of the Capitol.
Three Democrats on the Senate Appropriations Committee wrote a letter to Bernhardt Tuesday demanding the price for the Trump bash and asking who was covering the cost.
“We are deeply troubled that the president’s involvement at the event will turn the long-standing, nonpartisan celebration into a de facto campaign rally conducted at taxpayer expense that will serve to further divide rather than unify the nation,” wrote Sens. Tom Udall of New Mexico, Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland.
“We are also concerned that the decision to expand the event to include a potential presidential address will require the National Park Service to divert resources from other priorities of the Mall or other national park system units at a time when it is facing significant budgetary pressures.”
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