The Washington Post is reporting that President Donald Trump’s company turned a nearly $2 million profit at the Washington, D.C. Trump International Hotel so far in 2017. The $1.97 million profit dramatically beats expectations, and provides critics who claim Trump is profiting from his presidency with hard numbers.
According to newly released federal documents, the Trump Organization projected that it would $2.1 million during the first four months of 2017 because the organization established a new hotel and convention business in D.C.
However, the hotel is already turning a profit. The $4.1 million swing from projected losses to profitability “represents a 192 percent improvement over what the Trump family planned to make when the company opened the hotel in the fall,” writes The Post.
Guests seem willing to pay extraordinary prices to stay in the rooms. The hotel is probably the most expensive in the city and is currently charging more for its rooms than most other hotels. This year, guests have paid an average of $652.98 a night, reports the Post. This is 57 percent higher than the company’s expectations according to documents posted online by the General Services Administration.
Guests are also spending money on food and beverages in the meeting areas, bars and restaurant. In total, guests have spent $8.2 million on food and drinks so far at the hotel this year. Members of Trump’s cabinet has stayed or lived at the hotel, and frequent the community areas.
The hotel has emerged as a “power center and popular destination” in Washington for conservative, foreign and Christian groups since Trump’s inauguration, earning the company $19.7 million through April 15, writes the Post. Government ethics experts and Democrats in Congress have called the lease a “highly unethical arrangement.”
After taking office, Trump turned over the hotel’s management to his two eldest sons to address ethical concerns. He also vowed to take no hotel profits during his presidential tenure. He did, however, retain ownership, which allows him to eventually profit from the holdings. He did this against the advice of the government’s top ethics official.
Trump has spent 65 days at his properties during his 202 days in office, reports the Post. Government watchdog groups, competing businesses and state attorneys general have sued over what they call “unfair business practices that allow Trump to use the presidency to enrich himself.” He has been to the Pennsylvania Avenue hotel twice for dinner, which critics say are basically promotional displays.
The hotel’s management acknowledges that they have sought to capitalize on the president’s popularity in the GOP. They have marketed meeting space and rooms to Republicans and conservatives.
“We are very proud of the success of the project,” the president’s son, Eric Trump, who took over the company with his brother, Don Jr., said in an email to the Post.
The hotel has promised to donate money made from foreign governments at the end of the year to avoid violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause. This clause says the president cannot profit from foreign governments without specific approval from Congress.
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