House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) went out of his way to give President Trump’s hotel a shoutout during a tour of the Capitol he gave to hosts of Trump’s favorite show, Fox & Friends.
While taking in a spectacular view of downtown D.C. with Ainsley Earhardt on Friday morning, Ryan commented on Trump’s hotel, describing it as a key element in “the coolest view in town.”
“This is the coolest view in town, because we’re up here on Capitol Hill, and you basically can see everything from here,” Ryan said. “And see, the Washington Monument is the tallest thing, but see the second tallest structure here in Washington, that tower — you know what that is? That’s the Trump Hotel.”
Ryan said that when he brought Trump to that same spot, he took notice of his hotel — a venture that made him about $2 million in profit over the first four months of 2017 alone.
“When I brought the president and the first lady out here to show that view, he said, ‘Hey, that’s my hotel!’ It was pretty cool,” Ryan said.
Trump is the only modern president to refuse to divest from his business interests upon taking office. He leases the hotel building from the federal government — an unusual arrangement that “effectively gives the tenant control of the landlord,” as CNN puts it.
But there are multiple conflicts of interest created by the president running a lucrative business just blocks from the White House. Foreign governments can also curry favor with him by spending money there — a conflict the Founding Fathers tried to address with the Constitution’s emoluments clause.
Last week, ThinkProgress broke news about the Kuwaiti government’s plans to host its annual independence day celebration at the hotel next month. The Kuwaiti embassy abruptly moved the event from another hotel to Trump’s last year shortly after the inauguration. The event is cited in an ongoing lawsuit against Trump, which alleges that his business with foreign governments violates the constitution, by the Attorneys General of Maryland and D.C.