This New York Times report on the Trump International Hotel in DC is relevant to at least two of my interests: hoity-toity real estate and the fact that the Trumps and Trump loyalists are gross icky super gross poop people.
It was nearing midnight at the Trump International Hotel, and the president’s son was eating macaroni and cheese.
Enveloped in the smooth tones of jazzy hotel music, soft light from a million tiny chandelier crystals and the scent of candied bacon, Eric Trump, fresh from a rally this month in West Virginia, declined a question from a reporter and instead posed one of his own.
“Is everything perfect?” he asked, much like an attentive concierge.
From the Trump family’s point of view, how could it not be?
In this first tumultuous summer of the Trump administration, the hotel has cemented its status as a gathering spot for prominent conservatives and a place for the president’s supporters to see, be seen and curry favor with people in power, one $24 chocolate cigar at a time. (The selfies are free.)
His company also earns a cut — about $20 million over 15 months, according to financial disclosure forms — which has outraged ethics experts and led to various lawsuits, including one filed in January against the Trump administration by a group of lawyers. They accused the president of violating the Constitution by allowing his hotels and other businesses to accept payments from foreign governments.
“It’s the same old cesspool,” said Richard W. Painter, one of the lawyers in the group and an ethics counsel in the George W. Bush White House. “It’s just that now the president is getting a cut of the revenue.”
But for those who are happy to spend money here, the hotel, dripping in crystals, slicked with marble and upholstered in blue velvet, feels a bit like a “Make America Great Again” theme park.
There is a giant American flag hanging among chandeliers. Four large TV screens over the bar offer sports, stocks, more sports and Fox News. And frequent trills of a bell indicate that someone has opened a bottle of champagne with a saber — an activity recently enjoyed by Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary. He used to live in the hotel.
Up one marble staircase is BLT Prime by David Burke, a lamplit steakhouse overlooking the lobby. For the cost of a $60 cut of beef — not including appetizers, sides or drinks — any visitor can eat like the president, who most recently visited in late July.
Waiters say the commander in chief prefers a well-done Kansas City-cut steak, a Bible-thick slab of meat that is wheeled over on a large trolley stocked with tiny cups of ketchup. Visitors can wash it down with a $16 Manhattan Tea Party cocktail or — if the waiter is successful with his upcharge pitch — a $150 glass of Louis XIII cognac. A $22 cheesecake lollipop tree comes with a dollop of bubble gum whipped cream that feels more like putty and tastes not unlike dental fluoride. It is a best-seller.
Hold up, did it just get darker in here or have I detected some serious shade?
Mr. Scaramucci, who was dispatched as the White House communications director on July 31 after serving a bombastic, profanity-laced 10 days in the job, made a beeline for BLT Prime, and the salmon, on the night he was fired.
“Anthony is here,” a solemn-faced hotel employee said that evening, requesting anonymity out of fear that he, too, might be fired for speaking indiscreetly. “He’s angry. He’s sad. He’s staying at the hotel.”
“He’s angry. He’s sad. He’s staying at the hotel.” is poetry or a song lyric or should become one or the other immediately.
For two evenings during the first week in August, that was Eric Trump, the main attraction in the lobby and one of two Trump sons overseeing the president’s real estate empire. Seated at a table facing the lobby entrance, Mr. Trump’s presence caused a stir. Bystanders craned their necks to get a good look. A waiter shattered a glass. Another waiter spilled a glass of water on this reporter’s purse.
“As to being approachable,” Mr. Trump wrote, “I am always happy to take a picture with a fan or a guest — aside from being a kind person, we are in the hospitality industry and a warm and friendly environment is really the core of our business and who we are as a family.”
–“Is something a human might say,” he said proudly to himself.
“It’s kind of a safe zone for Trump supporters,” said Rudy Pamintuan, a Chicago-based consultant. “You don’t have to worry about strangers coming up and saying anything negative to you.”
Check out this snowflake censoring me and stopping me from screaming insults at him.
Stephen Miller, a senior White House adviser, dropped by this month with Nigel Farage, the former leader of the U.K. Independence Party, according to a local tipsheet curated by Politico. Among those who spotted the pair was Evan McClaren, a white nationalist who was at the hotel with Richard B. Spencer, another white nationalist.
“Place to be,” Mr. McClaren wrote on Twitter of the sighting.
Mr. McClaren declined to answer phone calls or emails asking about his trip to the hotel. He said he was too busy planning a rally in Charlottesville, Va.
Well. That escalated quickly.