Donald Trump’s Washington, D.C. hotel has jacked up its room rates during the week of Aug. 27, when the president has said he may deliver his GOP nomination speech from the White House South Lawn.
The Daily Beast reports: Listings for rooms at the Trump International Hotel in D.C., via Hotels.com, show rooms for one adult on the night of the address starting at $795 and running as high as $2,070. That price tag represents a massive increase from the $495 starting rate currently offered for the dates one week following and one week prior. … The price hikes come as other luxury hotels in D.C. are cutting their rates: accommodations at the Mandarin Oriental on August 27 begin at $367, while a comparable room at the Fairmont Washington will run $263.
Emoluments clause aside, Trump on Wednesday dismissed concerns that delivering the speech from the White House would violate the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activity at work, but exempts the president and vice president.
“There is no Hatch Act” — Trump dismisses legal concerns about him turning the White House into a political prop for his RNC speech pic.twitter.com/gm9d0MAFeB— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 5, 2020
“Well, it is legal,” he told reporters. “There is no Hatch Act, because it doesn’t pertain to the president. But if I use the White House, we save tremendous amounts of money for the government, in terms of security, traveling. If we go to another state or some other location, the amount of money is very enormous, so that’s something to consider also. I think it would be a very convenient location. It would be by far the least expensive location. There would be very little in terms of that tremendous traveling security, with airplanes and everybody flying all over the place. So I think it would be a very convenient idea. It would be very cost-conscious.”
More from the Washington Post: The decision to stage the most high-profile political event of Trump’s reelection campaign at the national seat of presidential power would be just the latest break by Trump in presidential norms, which have historically drawn clear lines between official business of the president and campaign events. The South Lawn, which can be subject to intense heat and afternoon thunderstorms in late August, is one of several sites under consideration for the week of festivities, including the Trump International Hotel in D.C., which the president leases from the federal government, officials said. … Richard Painter, a Trump critic who served as chief White House ethics lawyer under Bush, said the challenge of staging a convention from the White House is not that Trump himself would be violating the law. “He may not be violating the Hatch Act, but he is ordering other people to,” Painter said. “At a certain point you are using White House resources, and that is a violation of the Hatch Act.”
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