Critics of President Donald Trump raised alarm on Friday regarding the profits he's made off the presidency, particularly at his hotel in Washington, D.C.—with lawmakers saying such profits bolster their case that Trump has violated the Constitution's Emoluments Clause.
Government documents detailing the profits of the Trump International Hotel disappeared from the General Services Administration's (GSA) website Friday, after reports showing that the hotel has made nearly $2 million in profits since Trump's inauguration.
The Trump International Hotel has earned about $18 million in revenue since January, making "a profit of nearly $2 million despite budgeting for a $2.1 million loss," according to Think Progress.
The profit appears even more unexpected because of the hotel's low occupancy rate; the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump International has a "44.4 percent occupancy rate compared with 69.5 percent for comparative hotels."
The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) noted that a select group of influential guests are likely paying top dollar to stay in a hotel owned by the president.
Certain people are willing to pay a vast premium to stay at the Trump International Hotel in DC. Wonder why... https://t.co/dOxqPQlqZ1— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) August 11, 2017
Rooms at the hotel are priced from $625 to nearly $900 per night, with suites costing thousands of dollars per night—significantly higher than its projection last year that it would price rooms at an average of $416.
"The Trump hotel seems to be able to profit off a much smaller group" that wants to "buy influence with the president and his staff," said Jordan Libowitz, a spokesperson for CREW. Earlier this year, Trump International made $270,000 when Saudi lobbyists stayed in the hotel while Saudi Arabia was trying to overturn an anti-terrorism bill.
Rep. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Sen. John Conyers (D-Mich.) announced their support of a lawsuit mounted by CREW, alleging that Trump's involvement in his businesses while in office is a clear violation of the Constitution's Emoluments Clause.
"The payments from foreign governments that President Trump's hotel is raking in are just one example of how President Trump is thumbing his nose at the Constitution and the American people," said Blumenthal. "The immense magnitude of President Trump's vast business empire is no excuse for his disregard for the Constitution and disrespect for the American people. No one—not even the President—is above the law."