When Mr. Trump entered office, he did not sell any of his many properties but instead placed them in a private trust which includes his own children. He has faced heavy criticism from Democrats because of the fact that it is highly unethical for him to do so. It should also be mentioned that his children work for the Trump administration.
On Friday, one lawmaker introduced a bill that would prevent federal officials from spending money at any of Trump’s hotel properties. Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD) said that the HOTEL Act – Heightened Oversight of Travel, Eating, and Lodging – is to:
‘help stop President Donald Trump’s ongoing violations of the Constitution’s Domestic Emoluments Clause.’
According to Raskin’s House page:
‘Raskin’s bill, the Heightened Oversight of Travel, Eating, and Lodging (HOTEL) Act (H.R. 5304) would prohibit government agencies from using taxpayer dollars to stay or dine at hotels, restaurants, and other properties owned by the President, the President’s family, or the head of any other executive agency.’
‘Unlike previous presidents, Donald Trump has refused to divest himself of his business holdings and instead retained his ownership interest in the Trump Organization, a decision presenting constant ethical problems and potential constitutional violations.
‘The Constitution prohibits the President from receiving any emolument (any profit, benefit, gift, or payment) other than his salary while in office, but President Trump has continued to receive profits from his properties. These profits include taxpayer money paid to Trump properties by various federal government agencies patronizing Trump businesses.’
In a statement, Raskin said:
‘If the President does not have enough respect for the Constitution to refuse extra government payments beyond his official salary then we must cut the unlawful payments off at the source.’
Raskin’s proposal is supported by some staggering figures regarding the Trump administration’s spending at the president’s properties:
‘Recent reports demonstrate the need for such a ban: This week, Americans learned that the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) had spent a staggering $138,093 in travel expenses at 12 different Trump properties in the first eight months of the Trump administration. Trump’s expensive Mar-a-Lago resort charged the U.S. Secret Service at least $63,700 between February and April of 2017 alone. It also billed the U.S. Coast Guard $1,092 for a two-night stay by an employee traveling on official government business. The Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., which secured a 60-year lease from the government in 2013, presents significant conflicts of interest and has also received taxpayer funds.’
Rep. Raskin said:
‘Public office in our system may not be converted into racket for private gain. The government may not be turned into a money-making operation for the President and his family. We must stop all executive branch officials, all of whom report ultimately to President Trump, from spending public dollars at Trump hotels, restaurants, golf courses and other businesses. This is a ludicrous situation.’
The Trump Organization claims that it donated more than $150,000 to the U.S. Treasury , which is representative of the profits that were made at Trump hotels and properties from foreign governments in the past year.
On Twitter, most people wholly supported Raskin’s bill:
Featured image by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images