The Kuwaiti embassy is set to host its annual independence day celebration at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., according to a source who provided ThinkProgress with a copy of the invitation.
It’s the second year in a row the embassy has chosen the venue for its national day party, which is set to take place on February 26 this year. The independence celebration had previously been held at the Four Seasons for 10 years in a row, and held a reception at the Newseum in 2016.
A spokesperson for the embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for the Trump International Hotel said they traditionally did not comment on events held on the premises and could not confirm or deny whether the event would take place. ThinkProgress was able to review a photo of the invitation, which featured the location and date.
In December 2016, ThinkProgress reported that the embassy had moved the event from the Four Seasons after members of the Trump Organization called Ambassador of Kuwait Salem Al-Sabah and reportedly pressured him to change venues; the embassy had signed a four-year contract with the Four Seasons a few months earlier.
The move was seen by some as a way for the embassy to gain political favor with then-President elect Trump, who maintains a vested interest in the hotel and continues to profit from it. As ThinkProgress noted then, it also appeared that Trump’s business was “leveraging his position as president-elect to extract payments from a foreign government,” which is unconstitutional and an impeachable offense.
When contacted for comment at the time, Sabah denied he had been pressured to move the celebration. “[This] had nothing to do with anything else other than creating an exciting event for our guests,” he said.
In a statement to the Washington Post, he added, “I do not know President-elect Trump. Or his people. No one has contacted me about moving the event. “It was solely done with the intention of providing our guests with a new venue. We have been holding the event at the Four Seasons for years. There is a new hotel in town, and we thought we would give it a try.”
The president himself recently came under fire after an Associated Press report on Monday revealed his business had not followed through on Trump’s promise to donate all profits from foreign governments staying at his hotels to the U.S. Treasury. According to a report released in January by ethics watchdog Public Citizen, Trump’s D.C. hotel raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits from various foreign governments in 2017; as of January 2018, the Trump Organization had not made a single payment.
A White House spokeswoman in December claimed that the first payment would be made at the end of the year. After that date came and went, the White House issued a second statement in response to Monday’s AP report, clarifying that it would have “information to share” at the end of February.