The double promotion with White House clout occurred at the same time that the Trump family is slamming Hunter Biden for allegedly profiting from father Joe Biden’s role as vice president by serving on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.
The retweet infuriated Walter Shaub, former head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics for former President Barack Obama and Trump. “Definitely not trying to profit off the presidency at all,” Shaub noted sarcastically.
Unlike previous presidents, Trump has not divested from his businesses to avoid conflicts of interest. His business operations are in a revocable trust — from which he can withdraw money whenever he wants.
The Washington hotel has been the target of lawsuits charging that it violates the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which bans federal officeholders from accepting gifts or cash from foreign interests. The clause is intended to guard against undue influence by foreign interests on American officials. Foreign governments, officials and lobbyists frequently pay for rooms and facilities at the hotel. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky made it point earlier this year to tell Trump that he stayed at another of the president’s hotels, in New York.
The Trump Organization is considering selling the lease on the Washington hotel, which is owned by the federal government. As part of a sales pitch for the operation, investors have been told they can make millions from foreign governments, CNN reported.
Trump has come under increasing criticism for steering business to his enterprises from the White House, often at taxpayer expense. Vice President Mike Pence in September went out of his way at extra expense to stay at Trump’s golf resort in Doonbeg as part of a trip to Ireland to meet with the nation’s prime minister — in Dublin. Trump decided to stage the Group of Seven summit next summer at his Doral golf resort in Florida until he backed down amid a storm of bipartisan criticism.