Photo via Project Republic
The press secretary of Donald Trump used an official briefing to promote the “tremendously successful” Hawaii hotel of the billionaire in what experts have stated is an “ethics violation.”
Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked regarding why President Trump had stopped off at Trump International Hotel Waikiki before he left the state in order to continue his tour of the Asia-Pacific region.
She informed the press: “It has been a tremendously successful project and he wanted to say hello and thank you to the employees for all their hard work.”
President Trump visited Hawaii for a briefing from military leaders of the US Pacific Command and paid his respects to those people who were killed in the Pearl Harbour attack in 1941 during a stop at the USS Arizona memorial.
However, Trump’s reception was not uniformly positive. Protesters ridiculed his past birtherism claims regarding Barack Obama with signs that state “Welcome to Kenya”, and brandished others that stated “Aloha means goodbye” and “Immigration gave me my family.”
The comment of Sanders again blurred the lines between the business of Trump and political lives, placing ethics experts on edge.
The White House ethics czar under President Obama, Norm Eisen, posted in a tweet: “ETHICS VIOLATION by @PressSec: under 5 CFR § 2635.702, can’t promote Trump’s businesses–same violation as @KellyannePolls committed.”
He was citing a similar mistake by Trump’s adviser, Kellyanne Conway, when in February 2017, she promoted the fashion products of Ivanka Trump live on Fox News and from inside the press briefing room of the White House.
It was revealed this summer that the Trump International Hotel in Washington, several blocks away from the White House, had raked in almost $2m (£1.5m) in profit during the first quarter of this year, despite having been expected to lose even more than that amount.
Trump’s hotel, which opened last autumn, is located in the Old Post Office building on Pennsylvania Avenue, which the Trump Organisation is renting from the federal government.
Members of the inner circle of Trump and other Republican leaders have regularly been spotted in the bar and restaurant of the hotel, while foreign cash has poured into the said building.