State Department Website Features Trump's For-Profit Club, Mar-A-Lago
- Author: Joey Payne Apr 25, 2017,
Apr 25, 2017, 3:01
The posting was published on ShareAmerica.gov, a State Department website that promotes the US overseas and also appears in an abbreviated form on the official site of the USA embassy to the United Kingdom.
American Oversight, a watchdog group that includes some lawyers who worked at agencies in the Obama administration, said earlier Monday it would file a complaint with the State Department's inspector general and the Office of Government Ethics.
Under the heading "A Dream Deferred" - drawing on a famous line from the Langston Hughes poem "Harlem" - it says the original socialite owner wanted Mar-a-Lago to be a retreat for American presidents but notes it didn't happen until Trump won the election. Ron Wyden (D-OR) wrote on Twitter, as he said he would like to know more about why Mar-a-Lago is getting publicity from the U.S. Government on Facebook, the website of the U.S. Embassy in London, and more. A request for comment from the bureau concerning the Mar-a-Lago story and the decision to publish it was not immediately returned.
Eisen compared it to White House counselor Kellyanne Conway's promotion of Ivanka Trump's clothing business, for which she was "counseled" but not otherwise reprimanded by the White House.
On its website, ShareAmerica says it "is part of the Bureau of International Information Programs, which works with USA embassies and consulates in more than 140 countries to engage with people around the globe on us foreign policy and American society".
The Office of Government Ethics found that to be a violation, but Conway was not punished, despite being "counseled" on the matter.
"This idea of using government for private gain is metastasizing", Eisen said.
The entry details how it was built by Marjorie Merriweather Post in 1927, when the cereal heiress hoped the property would be used by presidents and dignitaries. The club has a $200,000 membership fee, and Trump has hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the resort. The president has spent seven of the 14 weekends he has been in office at the club, and he-and his staff-have made sure to use his preferred nomenclature whenever possible.
Several Democratic lawmakers, many of whom have raised questions in the past about Trump's use of Mar-a-Lago, questioned the blog post. "Why are taxpayer $$ promoting the President's private country club", Oregon Sen.
Trump has put his businesses under the control of his adult sons, but some see his frequent visits to Florida during his first 100 days as a way of bringing attention, and profit, to the resort.