Courtesy of vanityfair.com
By Angela Hickey
President Trump announced late October plans to sell his D.C. hotel, a move many consider to be a sign of “ethical self-awareness” according to NBC News.
The Trump International Hotel, which was officially opened in September 2016, is not technically owned by the Trump Organization; instead, it is officially leased through the U.S. Government. Although Trump International Hotel is housed in the Old Post Office Pavilion, with the contract overseen by the General Services Administration, Trump still received backlash after the hotel’s opening.
People have spoken out against the hotel since its opening, stating how much the Trump family is making from hotel profits. Regardless, the Trump Organization argues that payments it receives from foreign governments do not violate the Constitution’s ban on U.S. officeholders receiving payments from these entities. The Organization also claims that the organization goes above and beyond addressing those concerns by donating any profits made from foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury.
Although the Trump Organization states this wasn’t their only reason to consider selling, revealing the various offers they have received since opening their doors,
“Since we opened our doors, we have received tremendous interest in [Trump International] and as real-estate developers, we are always willing to explore our options,” said Eric Trump, executive Vice President of the Trump Organization.
But even with the sales in progress, the Trump Organization will still benefit from the sale, considering they plan to receive at least $500 million for the sale of the lease, which would make the sale one of the highest-priced hotel deals ever by this popular industry valuation metric.
The hotel has been a target of scrutiny from Democrats, interest groups, and even members within the Trump Administration. In January, however, it was discovered by the inspector general of the General Services Administration that the agency ignored guidelines spelled out in the Constitution’s emoluments clause. The clause was designed to shield the federal officeholders of the United States against so-called “corrupting foreign influences,” by allowing Trump to keep the lease on the hotel.
The Washington property, according to the hotel’s official website, boasts some of the largest hotel rooms in the District of Columbia with suites running upwards of $3,000. Causing more outrage against the corporation and people’s claims that owning properties at which foreign, federal, state and local governments spend money could violate constitutional bans on the president receiving “emoluments”—things of value—beyond his fixed salary.
The sale of Trump International is being verified by the General Services Administration, and any potential buyers must be “qualified transferees” even though specifications to what that means aren’t officially disclosed. The last official news of this was Trump’s appointment of GSA administrator, Emily Murphy, who was confirmed by the senate in December of 2017 to be in charge of the verification process.