Oh his way to Asia for a five-country diplomatic tour, one of his most significant international trips since taking office, President Donald Trump stopped in Honolulu, Hawaii to visit the USS Arizona Memorial, which is dedicated to the victims of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
But on his way back to the airport, Trump made another stop — this time at the Trump Hotel in Waikiki.
According to White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump wanted to greet the employees and thank them for their hard work in making the Trump Hotel a “tremendously successful project.” This stop, which happened amidst a taxpayer-funded trip, was both unexpected and unannounced, according to reporters travelling with the president.
Kyle Griffin of MSNBC reports that this is Trump’s 97th day at a Trump property since his inauguration on January 20th.
After downplaying the topic during most of his presidential campaign, Trump officially pledged to separate his business from the presidency last November, a few weeks after the election. That charade didn’t last for long — just days later, Trump’s three oldest children, who were supposed to be running the Trump Organization in their father’s absence, were also named members of the Trump transition team.
The lines between the country’s politics and Trump’s family business have become increasingly blurred over the last year, as his children have hawked campaign merchandise and held meetings with Republican National Committee officials, while Trump-branded hotels have looked to expand across the country and memberships to Trump’s Florida resort, Mar-A-Lago, have doubled.
The Trump Hotel in Waikiki says on its website that it is “not owned, developed, or sold by Donald J. Trump, the Trump Organization, or any of their affiliates.” But Trump’s taxpayer-funded detour to the property proves that the only connection Trump finds important is the branding — and that despite any vocalized separation between Trump and the Trump Organization, he still views himself as the organization’s owner and its ultimate brand ambassador.
After thanking his hotel employees, Trump boarded a plane to Asia, where he will presumably spend the next 12 days trying to ward off a looming nuclear war with North Korea.