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This week in Donald Trump's conflicts of interest: Lots of focus on his hotels

The focus of this week is rightly on the Charlottesville violence, but we can't ignore Trump's conflicts


Matthew Rozsa
August 19, 2017 10:30AM (UTC)

President Donald Trump's conflicts of interest have not abated, even as he has spent the past week dealing with the fallout of his incoherent and pro-white nationalist rants.

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch is speaking to a conservative group at Trump International Hotel in Washington.

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When Justice Gorsuch delivers the keynote address for a meeting of the Fund for American Studies at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. on September 28, he will raise serious questions about his own ethics, according to a report by The New York Times. Part of the problem is that his speech will occur less than two weeks before the court will hear arguments on Trump's proposed travel ban. Just as significant, however, is the mere fact that Trump has failed to fully divest from his business empire. As Stanford professor Deborah L. Rhode told the Times, "It’s a terrible signal for this group to be holding their meeting at the Trump International Hotel and for a Supreme Court justice to legitimate it by attending. It just violates basic ethical principles about conflicts of interest."

Speaking of the Trump International Hotel . . .

Although the Trump Organization said that it expected Trump International Hotel to lose $2.1 million in the first four months of 2017, it actually earned $1.9 million in that period, according to a report by The Washington Post. In case the problematic nature of this profit doesn't become immediately apparent, check out this passage from the Post's story:

Since Trump entered the White House in January, the hotel has emerged as a Republican Party power center and popular destination for conservative, foreign and Christian groups holding meetings in Washington, earning Trump’s company $19.7 million through April 15, according to his financial disclosure with the government.

With guests paying an average of $652.98, the hotel is most likely the most expensive one in Washington.

Don't forget the so-called "Donald of Dubai."

That's the nickname used for Hussain Sajwani in a recent piece by The Independent, and with good reason. As the Associated Press recently chronicled, Sajwani is a real estate magnate who prominently features Trump in his marketing. As ethics watchdog Norman Eisen told the AP, if Sajwani "is featuring the Trump name in his marketing materials and if, as one can fairly assume, that's being furnished to government officials and others, then that would be a not-very-subtle attempt to trade on his business partner's presence in the White House."

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Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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