The Trump International Hotel, housed in the Washington, D.C., landmark the Old Post Office building, has become a gathering place for Republicans and specifically those connected to or seeking connection with President Trump, who has apparently handed off the management of his hotel and branding business to his sons but still retains a financial stake. Trump ate a well-done steak (with ketchup) there in his one dinner out in D.C. during his presidency, but other members of his circle — and administration — are regular customers, The Associated Press reports.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, for example, lives at the hotel during the week. After Trump's speech to Congress last week, "with his tiny terrier tucked under an arm, Mnuchin stepped into an elevator with reality TV star and hotel guest Dog the Bounty Hunter" to return to his new home. Other Trump administration officials who live there during the week include White House economic adviser Gary Cohn and Linda McMahon, the WWE veteran who heads the Small Business Administration. They and other administration officials "have been personally paying a fair market rate" for their accommodations, said White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters.
Rooms are currently going for about $500 a night, or higher. Phil Ruffin, a billionaire Trump donor who partnered with Trump to build a Las Vegas residential tower, tells AP he spent $18,000 a night when he was in town for Trump's inauguration — despite having given $1 million to Trump's inauguration committee. Ruffin said he half-jokingly complained to Trump about not receiving a discount, and Trump told him, "Well, I'm kind of out of it." But his name isn't, and his financial stake in a hotel in a government-owned building has prompted lawsuits over his lease and constitutional mechanisms to prevent foreign corruption. In the meantime, the Trump set knows where to meet. "I've never come through this lobby and not seen someone I know," Doug Deason, a Dallas-based fundraiser for Trump's election campaign, tells AP.