Trump family may sell DC hotel amid emoluments concerns and lawsuits: ‘People are objecting to us making so much money’

AFP via Getty Images
AFP via Getty Images

Donald Trump’s private business may sell its marquee hotel in Washington that has become the subject of intense congressional scrutiny and outcry from critics who said he was using it to profit off the presidency.

The Trump Organisation has said it will consider offers to buy it out of a 100-year lease of the building, partly to avoid criticism over conflicts of interest.

The Trump International Hotel, which opened just before Mr Trump was elected in late 2016, has been a magnet for lobbyists and diplomats looking to curry favour with the administration.

"People are objecting to us making so much money on the hotel and therefore we may be willing to sell," Eric Trump, an executive vice president of the Trump Organisation, said in a statement.

He added: "Since we opened our doors, we have received tremendous interest in this hotel and as real-estate developers, we are always willing to explore our options."

The opulent hotel is housed in the Old Post Office building down the street from the White House.

Since Mr Trump took office, the venue has hosted parties thrown by diplomats from the Philippines, Kuwait and other countries, and has been among the biggest money makers in Mr Trump's real estate empire.

It is at the centre of two lawsuits accusing the president of violating the emoluments clause of the US Constitution, which bans presidents from receiving gifts or payments from foreign governments.

According to Mr Trump's most recent financial disclosure, the 263-room hotel took in $41m (£32m) in revenue last year, up less than half a million dollars from the previous year.

In his statement, Eric Trump addressed concerns about conflicts of interest by noting the company cuts a check to the US Treasury each year for what it calculates as "profit" from foreign government business at its hotels and other properties.

That amounted to $191,538 (£149,321) last year, up from $151,470 (£118,074) the previous year.

The president declined to divest from his private business upon assuming the Oval Office. He has since repeatedly claimed he does not profit from his position.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Read more

Democrat anger as DoJ opens criminal inquiry into Russia probe origins