State Department promotion of Trump's Mar-a-Lago draws fire

25 April, 2017, 03:03 | Author: Lorena Waters
  • 2017 President Donald Trump's Mar-a Lago estate in Palm Beach Fla. The U.S. State Department’s recent promotion of President Donald Trump’s for-profit Florida resort is drawing criticism from De

Since his inauguration, he's visited Mar-a-Lago seven times.

The post has drawn ire from social media users and political leadership, who say it acts as an ad to attract influential and wealthy foreigners to become members of the club.

In an April 4 blog post that has been republished by several US embassies overseas, Mar-a-Lago is described as "Trump's Florida estate", where he has hosted foreign leaders.

The State Department had no immediate comment on whether the item was appropriate or had been vetted for legal or ethical concerns.

An official State Department website is promoting President Trump's private club in Florida, with help from a number of State Department Facebook accounts.

Trump has made frequent trips to the Florida resort and hosted several world leaders there, including Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier in April, according to the New York Daily News.

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But what it doesn't mention is that Mar-a-Lago is perhaps the most obvious vehicle Trump is using to profit off the presidency.

An article on a State Department website about President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort has been removed after criticism that it was an inappropriate use of taxpayer funds.

Both Norm Eisen, former President Barack Obama's ethics czar, and Richard Painter, the chief White House ethics lawyer for George W. Bush, said the blog post was a violation of federal law that restricts aspects of the government promoting a private business that benefits their superior, the president. Trump maintains ownership of his global business empire, though he has handed off control to his two oldest sons, an arrangement that ethics watchdogs said would not prevent conflicts of interest. The home was originally built in 1927 by cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post. Ten years later, Trump opened the property as the "Mar-a-Lago Club", allowing access to dues-paying members of the public. In 1985, Trump bought the property for a mere $5 million and turned it into a private club in 1995.

The blog post additionally shared more details about Mar-a-Lago's unique history.

In March, congressional Democrats introduced a bill to force disclosure of the names of visitors meeting with Trump and other administration officials at the club and at Trump Tower in NY. He and the foreign leaders he hosted were never placed in compromising situations where they had to handle a foreign crisis in full view of diners, as Trump and Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe did in February. Trump used taxpayer resources to promote his private club for the objective of personal enrichment.

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