Recap: Trump's D.C. hotel at inauguration

Welcome to 1100 Pennsylvania, a newsletter devoted to President Donald Trump’s Trump Hotel International Washington, D.C. (and his other companies). President Trump, of course, still owns his businesses and can profit from them.

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Trump inauguration funds flow to Trump's hotel

From Friday’s “Trump’s inauguration paid Trump’s company—with Ivanka in the middle” by Ilya Marritz of WNYC and Justin Elliott of ProPublica:

The [Trump] inauguration paid the Trump Organization for rooms, meals and event space at the company’s Washington hotel, according to interviews as well as internal emails and receipts reviewed by WNYC and ProPublica…

If the Trump hotel charged more than the going rate for the venues, it could violate tax law. The inaugural committee’s payments to the Trump Organization and Ivanka Trump’s role have not been previously reported or disclosed in public filings.

In honor of that scoop, let’s flashback to some sightings from Trump’s inauguration weekend at the Trump Hotel D.C.:

Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, listened to the President-elect/innkeeper speak and hung out with then-incoming National Security Advisor /now admitted felon Michael Flynn and Wisc. Gov. Scott Walker (R).

Ibrahim Hassan Al-Asmakh, one of Qatar's wealthiest businessmen, chatted with Donald Trump Jr. (photo no longer publicly available on Instagram).

Konstantin Nikolaev, the Russian billionaire who reportedly backed Maria Butina, was seen at the hotel (per Rosalind S. Helderman for The Washington Post):

Nikolaev was spotted at the Trump International Hotel in Washington during Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, according to two people aware of his presence…

It is unclear if Nikolaev also attended any official inaugural events, but he was seen at Trump’s D.C. hotel, which served as hub of inauguration celebrations. His spokesman declined to comment on what he was doing there.

And while Trump promised to separate his administration and organization, the hotel’s managing director Mickael Damelincourt and other hotel staffers went all out for the inauguration. Of course, as Pro Publica and WNYC just reported, “what a day!!!” it was for the hotel too.

U.S. Representatives ask Saudi ambassador to explain hosting vets in Trump’s hotel

On Friday, Rep. Ted Lieu (D–CA) and 11 other members of Congress—all military veterans, all Democrats—sent a letter to Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud, asking for details about his country’s “role in sending U.S. veterans to lobby Congress against a bill the Saudis opposed.” These efforts including booking 500 rooms—at a cost of more than $270,000—at the U.S. president’s hotel.

Trump Hotel D.C. event headliner named acting White House chief of staff

This September, Mick Mulvaney headlined “nonsectarian Christian institution” Hillsdale College’s annual Constitution Day celebration at the hotel. Friday he picked up another job in the Trump administration, becoming the acting chief of staff. (Watch his remarks to hear him start with a disclaimer that he’s talking in his personal capacity but then at 18:42 mention getting feedback from his staff on a draft of his speech.)

Noteworthy sightings

Embattled Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was at her boss’s hotel and found to be “a great lady.” Recently 7-year-old Guatemalan Jakelin Caal died in the custody of Nielsen’s department, which it didn’t disclose for a week.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was willing to listen to this patron of her boss’s hotel.

Fox News’s Jeanine Pirro was back at the Trump Hotel D.C. In July, Pirro’s book launch party was at the hotel; it’s a book President Trump plugged on Twitter.

Former White House staffer Sebastian Gorka was back at the Trump Hotel D.C. In October, Gorka’s book launch party was at the hotel; it’s a book President Trump plugged on Twitter. Gorka’s posing here—at a hotel owned by the commander-in-chief who also oversees the Department of Veterans Affairs—with representatives of the Brothers in Arms Foundation, which supports fallen and injured special operations Marines.

Alt-right Pizzagate pusher Jack Posobiec posed with his family by the tree. A hotel regular, he posed by the hotel’s tree with his wife last year too.

A Khashoggi Way sign made a stop in front of the hotel.

U.S. Senate staffer Alexandra Elise Alford dined at BLT Prime.

Former U.S. intelligence officer turned Trump 2020 advisor and TV pundit, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer (Ret.) returned to the hotel and posed by the tree.

Connor Semelsberger’s “first office Christmas party is in the books. What a beautiful venue and even more beautiful date!” He works for the Family Research Council.

Legal cases, current status (latest change, Dec. 17, 2018)

Health inspections, current status (latest change, Aug. 10, 2018)

  • ❌Hotel: five violations on May 7, 2018; two were corrected on site

  • ❌BLT Prime and Benjamin Bar: nine violations on Aug. 10, 2018

  • ❌Sushi Nakazawa: two violations on Aug. 10, 2018

  • ✔️Banquet kitchen: no violations on Aug. 10, 2018

  • ❌Pastry kitchen: two violations on Aug. 10, 2018

  • ✔️Gift shop: no violations on May 7, 2018

  • ❌Employee kitchen and in-room dining: five violations on Aug. 10, 2018; two were corrected on site

Other Trump Organization news

One thing that has nothing to do with Trump’s businesses (I think, tough to tell sometimes!)

“After Charles Barkley’s mother passed away, a cat litter scientist from Iowa showed up at the funeral. ‘Everybody’s, like, “Who’s the Asian dude over there?”’ Barkley recalls. ‘I said, “That’s my boy, Lin.”’” By Shirley Wang for WBUR

Thanks for reading. If you like what you saw, tell someone. If you’ve been forwarded this newsletter, subscribe for yourself at Tips or feedback? Contact me, Zach Everson, securely via email at or on Signal at 202.804.2744.