President Donald Trump is all set for his first major re-election fundraiser at his Washington, D.C. hotel — a location that raised major concerns about conflict of interests.
According to the Associated Press, campaign director Michael Glassner has confirmed that the president has decided to use the Trump International Hotel as the venue for his first 2020 re-election fundraiser scheduled on June 28. Glassner even called it a “premier and convenient location” for such event.
However, not everyone seems pleased with Trump’s decision to utilize his hotel for the big event, especially the president’s critics. Many were quick to raise their eyebrows with Trump’s choice, especially regarding ethics concerns.
Apparently, many assumed that Trump’s use of his properties for campaign purposes might be a form of self-dealing and will most likely cause conflict of interests.
It can be recalled that Trump faced a major backlash after he transferred control of his businesses to his sons instead of divesting it when he was elected president. In fact, Trump was reportedly sued by lawmakers for allegedly violating anti-corruption clauses of the Constitution.
The lawmakers, state of Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and District of Columbia (DC) Attorney General Karl Racine, reiterated that Trump retained ownership of his businesses despite holding the highest position in the government. They also claimed that Trump did not fully separate from his ventures, thus failing to keep his promises of separating his public duties as a government official and private business interests.
Meanwhile, Kathleen Clark, a former ethics lawyer for the District of Columbia, reiterated that although not illegal, Trump’s use of his properties is a clear indication of self-dealing.
“It’s another example of him trying to get a twofer, promoting his brand through his campaign or his government work.”
On the other hand, Norman Eisen, an ethics attorney for former President Barack Obama is convinced that Trump is “becoming more and more brazen in his efforts to monetize the presidency.”
Richard Painter, chief ethics lawyer under former President George W. Bush, also pointed out that despite its legality, he would still advise against it.
“The appearance is not great. I would advise against it, but it’s legal.”
Trump has been known for his appearances at his businesses and properties even after he was elected as president. As per the Associated Press tally, the president has visited such locations 37 times as president.
Apparently, his visits to his businesses as president was a good form of advertising, resulting in a notable increase in revenue.
Reports revealed that Trump’s annual financial disclosure filed last week stated that Mar-a-Lago, a resort he visited seven times, had an increase in revenue — $37 million from $30 million.
The Trump Hotel, on the other hand, reported a whopping $20 million income since its opening in October.
Trump officially kicked off his 2020 re-election campaign on his Inauguration day and immediately filed for Federal Election Commission paperwork. Reports revealed that it was the earliest effort made by an incumbent president in history.
The re-election campaign already raised more than $7 million by the end of March — mostly from small donors and sales of merchandise such as his iconic “Make America Great Again” ball caps.
Meanwhile, Trump’s 2020 re-election fundraiser at the Trump International Hotel on June 28 is aimed at bigger donors.
[Featured Image by Alex Brandon/AP Images]