October 28, 2019
The cost of a basic room at Trump’s DC Hotel is nearly three times its average rate on November 7th. Conspicuously, that’s the night between Senate Republicans’ two day retreat at Trump’s Hotel. Filling the hotel with a who’s who of Republican power players serves as an invitation for anyone looking to influence the government, and the hotel’s role as a hot spot for influence peddling has helped to make it one of the few bright spots in Trump’s financial portfolio. Since Trump never divested from his businesses when he became president, he stands to profit from the decision to host the Republican retreat at his hotel, and even more massively because of the spike in rates that evening.
“Premier” and “deluxe” rooms at the hotel—the least expensive rooms offered—cost $1,345 and $1,395, respectively, for the night of November 7th, according to searches performed on October 23rd, 25th and 28th. That’s nearly three times the average cost of the cheapest room available at the hotel, according to Google. Hotel rates are responsive to a number of factors, and it’s not uncommon for costs to fluctuate, but the contrast is stark between average rates and the rate on the night of November 7th.
The Intercept reported that the National Republican Senatorial Committee will host a “Save the Senate” retreat for Republican Senators and candidates on November 7th and November 8th at Trump Hotel in Washington, DC. According to the invitation, the president himself will attend, along with at least eight Republican Senators. The invitation says that the event is not a fundraiser but an event for existing large donors, though it appears that at least the Trump Hotel will be making money in connection with the event—and therefore so will the president.
This is not the first time that Trump Hotel rates have spiked around a Trump-centered event in the area. CREW reported that during the Fourth of July rally that Trump planned on the National Mall, the hotel was unavailable to reserve unless you were willing to book several nights at a time, and the surrounding days saw a huge spike in room costs.
This is also not even close to the first time that members of Congress have helped pad Trump’s bottom line by patronizing his properties. In fact, CREW has tracked 98 members of Congress who have visited a Trump business. Some have been frequent visitors, like Senator Lindsey Graham who has paid 17 visits, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy with 11, and Senator Rand Paul with 11.
Though this retreat is consistent with the pattern of Trump’s conflicts of interest, and the willingness of Republican Members of Congress to contribute to them–it is even more problematic than past episodes. Hosting a retreat for powerful government leaders at Trump’s hotel sends the signal that the hotel is the best location for proximity to political influence. Though the rates are exorbitant, surely many will be willing to pay the high cost for the chance to bump into Mitch McConnell, or even President Trump himself. It’s practically the Trump Hotel’s business model.