President Trump's Federal Employees Wouldn't Be Able To Stay At Most Trump Hotels

The properties are missing from a federal list of hotels approved for fire safety.
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The Trump Soho is one of five U.S. Trump Hotel Collection properties not included on the Hotel-Motel National Master List.
Jessica Rinaldi / Reuters

If Donald Trump becomes president, White House staffers won't be allowed to stay in most of his hotels when they travel on government business.

Five of the six U.S. properties included in the Trump Hotel Collection are not on the federal government’s list of hotels and motels that have been approved as "fire safe" for federal employees. The Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago is the only property in that collection that is on the Hotel-Motel National Master List, a registry that the Federal Emergency Management Agency maintains for the purpose of ensuring that federal employees traveling on government business stay in lodging that meets certain basic requirements, such as having fire alarms and sprinklers.

Federal employees cannot be reimbursed for nights at hotels that aren’t on the list, nor are they allowed to spend money on conferences or events at properties that are not on the list.

Another property under the Trump brand -- the Trump International Beach Resort Miami --  is on the list of approved lodging, though it is not included among the venues touted in Trump's Hotel Collection. Trump doesn't own any of these properties, but licenses his name to them and says he is "personally involved in everything that his name represents."

The vast majority of the 53,423 hotels and motels in the U.S. -- 87 percent -- are on the list, according to data from FEMA and the American Hotel and Lodging Association. The process of being added to the FEMA list is fairly straightforward. Hotels submit an online form, along with either a certificate of occupancy or an agreement that they will allow access to a fire inspector. FEMA then reviews the application and adds compliant venues to its list.

Enigma, a data intelligence company, flagged the absence of the Trump hotels from the federal list for HuffPost.

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The Trump International Hotel Las Vegas. It's one of the five U.S. properties in the Trump Hotel Collection not on the federal list.
The Washington Post via Getty Images

Hotels are not required by law to join the list, but need to if they want to do any business with the federal government -- business that is worth billions of dollars annually.

The list was created as part of the 1990 Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Act, passed to encourage venues to install sprinklers, smoke detectors and fire alarms. Congress approved the law after deadly fires at hotels that lacked effective sprinklers and alarms, said Robert Solomon, the division manager for building and life safety codes at the National Fire Protection Association, a nonprofit that does fire safety research and training. One of those tragedies included the fire at the Hotel Dupont Plaza in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on New Year’s Eve 1986, which killed 96 people and injured more than 140.

Solomon said that a hotel or motel not appearing on the list doesn't necessarily mean it is unsafe or that it does not meet local fire codes -- and local fire codes often go beyond what is required to get on the FEMA list. But it does mean that the property has not taken the step of presenting its fire safety credentials to the federal government in order to participate in a program created to protect government employees from staying in unsafe buildings.

"There are many optional programs such as this which our hotels regularly evaluate. While some of our properties do not participate in this particular program, our hotels are extremely vigilant and adhere to required fire and safety codes," said Trump Hotels spokeswoman Christine Da Silva. A Trump Organization spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

Local fire departments in Las Vegas and Waikiki, where two of the Trump Collection hotels are located, told The Huffington Post that there were no current fire safety concerns at the Trump venues. The Clark County Fire Department in Nevada stressed that its fire codes have been updated six times since 1990 -- so buildings there meet much tougher standards than those required to be included on the list. “If we’re not the most stringent in the country, we are right there,” said Adolf Zubia, the assistant chief for the county's Department of Building & Fire Prevention.

“We definitely have the most safest buildings in the world here in Las Vegas because of our codes and the control that goes on,” Girard Paige, the Clark County fire marshall, told HuffPost.

Records from the Chicago Fire Department, which HuffPost requested, show that the Trump Chicago has passed annual fire safety inspections and has no violations. The New York Fire Department has not responded to a public records request for fire inspection records, but the Trump Soho and Trump International in New York do not have any outstanding fire safety violations with the Department of Buildings or the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

One of the Trump properties does have a safety violation. The Miami-Dade Fire Prevention Division notified the Trump National Doral on May 23 that it was in violation of both state and county fire prevention code for failing to have records showing that its fire alarm system had been certified as meeting maintenance and testing requirements, an inspection report shows.

Dennis Lockwood, an inspector with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, said this is a “fairly common violation,” and the property has since provided the required certification. In 2015, inspection reports show that the county also found that the Trump International Beach Resort in Miami was in violation of both state and county fire prevention code for failing to have records showing that its sprinkler and standpipe system, which firefighters use to connect hoses, had been certified as meeting maintenance and testing requirements.

Given how stringent local fire codes are, fire safety experts were unsure why Trump hotels would not be on the federal list.I can’t think of any legitimate reason for any hotel property that had sprinklers and alarm and detection to not be on that list, Solomon said.

Both Solomon and Zubia raised the possibility that the Trump Hotels are simply too expensive for federal employees' budget allowances, so it would be pointless for them to try to court federal employee business. The government's General Services Administration sets the amount federal employees can spend per night in a given location at a specific time of year. For instance, the federal per diem for hotels in Las Vegas varies between $108 and $93 depending on the time of year.

But many high-end hotels, including the Bellagio in Las Vegas and numerous Four Seasons locations, have listed rates well above the federal allowed amount, yet appear on the fire safety master list. And the one Trump Collection hotel on the list, in Chicago, does not accept government rates, according to the reservations desk. Another Trump hotel, in Miami, that appears on the approved list also does not accept government rates, the reservations desk said.

Meanwhile, employees at the Trump National Doral, Las Vegas and Soho locations said they do accept government rates based on availability, even though the venues do not appear on the list. The Trump Waikiki is also not on the fire safety list, but an employee there told HuffPost that the hotel does offer a government discount. The Trump International in New York said it does not accept government rates.

So if some of the Trump hotels do -- at least occasionally -- accept government rates, that doesn't solve the puzzle of why aren't on the list. “The question’s still out there lurking,” Solomon said. “It strikes me as odd.”

This story has been updated with a comment from a Trump Hotels spokeswoman.

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liarrampant xenophoberacistmisogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

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Before You Go

Republicans Who Have Refused To Back Donald Trump
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney(01 of 17)
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"I simply can’t put my name down as someone who voted for principles that suggest racism or xenophobia, misogyny, bigotry, [for someone] who’s been vulgar time and time again,” Romney said in June. “I don’t want to be associated with that in any way, shape or form.” (credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Sen. Ben Sasse (Neb.)(02 of 17)
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"I’m as frustrated and saddened as you are about what’s happening to our country. But I cannot support Donald Trump," he wrote in February. (credit: SAUL LOEB via Getty Images)
Former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson(03 of 17)
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“When it comes to the presidency, I will not vote for Donald Trump,” Paulson, who served as Treasury secretary under George W. Bush, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed in June. (credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush(04 of 17)
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“Donald Trump has not demonstrated that temperament or strength of character. He has not displayed a respect for the Constitution. And, he is not a consistent conservative. These are all reasons why I cannot support his candidacy,” Bush wrote in a Facebook post in May. (credit: Mark Makela via Getty Images)
Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.)(05 of 17)
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The South Carolina senator told CNN in May he would not vote for Trump or Clinton in September.

"I don't believe that Donald Trump has the temperament and judgment to be commander in chief. I think Donald Trump is going to places where very few people have gone and I'm not going with him," he said.
(credit: Tom Williams via Getty Images)
Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage(06 of 17)
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“If Donald Trump is the nominee, I would vote for Hillary Clinton,” Armitage told Politico in June. "He doesn't appear to be a Republican, he doesn't appear to want to learn about issues. So, I’m going to vote for Mrs. Clinton.”
(credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI via Getty Images)
Former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft(07 of 17)
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“Secretary Clinton shares my belief that America must remain the world’s indispensable leader. She understands that our leadership and engagement beyond our borders makes the world, and therefore the United States more secure and prosperous,” he said in a statement. (credit: Mark Wilson via Getty Images)
Sen. Mark Kirk (Ill.)(08 of 17)
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Earlier this month, the Illinois Republican, who is locked in a tough re-election battle, rescinded his endorsement of Trump. He is also running ads against Trump.

"I cannot and will not support my party’s nominee for President,” he said.
(credit: Bill Clark via Getty Images)
Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.)(09 of 17)
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“As of now, unless he changes significantly, I can’t see myself voting for Donald Trump,” Flake said in June. (credit: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Rep. Bob Dold (Ill.)(10 of 17)
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"For me, I will not support Donald Trump. Certainly I think there are others that have some pretty significant reservations," the Illinois congressman told WLS in May. “I want to make that I’m clear about this, I’m not going to support Hillary Clinton either. I would write someone in.” (credit: Tom Williams via Getty Images)
Rep. Carlos Curbelo (Fla.)(11 of 17)
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“I have no plans of supporting either of the presumptive nominees," he told the Miami Herald in May. (credit: Tom Williams via Getty Images)
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.)(12 of 17)
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“"In this election, I do not support either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton," Ros-Lehtinen told the Miami Herald in May. (credit: Bill Clark via Getty Images)
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine)(13 of 17)
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Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said in August she could not vote for Trump because he "does not reflect historical Republican values, nor the inclusive approach to governing that is critical to healing the divisions in our country." (credit: Yuri Gripas / Reuters)
Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.)(14 of 17)
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Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) has said he can’t envision himself voting for Trump at this time. “I’ll give him a chance, but at this point, I have no intentions of voting for him,” he said in June. (REUTERS/Enrique de la Osa) (credit: Enrique de la Osa / Reuters)
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)(15 of 17)
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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has not said explicitly that he would not vote for Trump. But in a speech at the GOP convention in Cleveland last month, Cruz urged delegates to vote their conscience “up and down the ticket,” signaling his opposition to the nominee. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst) (credit: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah)(16 of 17)
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Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) has not offered his endorsement yet. While he has signaled his obvious displeasure ― earlier this year he said Trump scared him “to death” ― he could come around in the future if he “heard the right things out of him.” (REUTERS/Carlo Allegri) (credit: Carlo Allegri / Reuters)
Former Under Secretary Of State For Public Diplomacy James Glassman,(17 of 17)
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Glassman, who served as under secretary of state for public diplomacy to President George W. Bush said Hillary Clinton was “by far the superior candidate." (credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
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