WASHINGTON – On a June morning, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and his wife enjoyed croissants in the lounge of the opulent hotel, a day before joining President Donald Trump a few blocks away at the White House for a Rose Garden news conference.
Downstairs that same day in the grand ballroom, hundreds of bankers discussed their industry’s future under Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who lived in the hotel for six months at his own expense, according to a spokesman, after Trump picked him for the job.
The scenes illustrate a daily spectacle of Washington influence at 1100 Pennsylvania Ave., the city’s newest luxury hotel that has quickly become a kind of White House annex. Since Trump’s election, the Trump International Hotel has emerged as a Republican Party power center where on a good day – such as July 28 around 8 p.m. – excited visitors can watch the president share intimate dinner conversation with his just-named chief of staff, John Kelly, and be the first to brag about it on social media.
This is nothing Washington has ever seen. For the first time in presidential history, a profit-making venture touts the name of a U.S. president in its gold signage. And every cup of coffee served, every fundraiser scheduled, every filet mignon ordered feeds the revenue of the Trump family’s private business.
In conversations with The Washington Post, the hotel’s management described its strategy to capitalize on the president’s popularity. It markets the hotel to Republican and conservative groups that embrace Trump’s politics but takes care not to solicit business from fringe groups that would embarrass the president. Trump supporters in…
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