Donald Trump's new hotel in Washington, D.C., located blocks from the White House, threatens to become a way for foreign diplomats to ingratiate themselves with the new president.
A Washington Post report published Friday featured interviews with dozens of diplomats, many of whom requested anonymity and some of whom said they would stay at the new Trump International Hotel in order to please Trump. About 100 foreign diplomats gathered at the hotel this week to discuss building ties with Trump's administration, the Post reported. While there, many heard sales pitches about the hotel.
"The temptation and the inclination will certainly be there," Arturo Sarukhan, a former Mexican ambassador to the United States, told the Post. "Some might think it’s the right way to engage, to be able to tell the next president, ‘Oh, I stayed at your hotel.’ If I were still in government, I would discourage it, among other reasons because it can be questioned and looked at in a very poor light, as though you are trying to buy influence via a hotel bill."
The report comes as Trump faces a flood of questions about whether his businesses will create conflicts of interest when he becomes president. Trump has said he will leave his children in charge of his businesses when he takes office, but that solution is complicated by his children's heavy involvement in his newfound political career.
Mickael Damelincourt, general manager of the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C., told the Post that interest was surging ahead of the inauguration, though most hotels in the city typically witness increased interest for the big event. "I got 50 calls in the last day, from some very important people, and we have no space," he said, while adding that he doesn't think Trump's election victory was a factor.