Are Democrats grasping at straws to find ethics violations against President Donald Trump?
Some have their sights set on his South Florida, Mar-a-Lago resort, that the administration calls the “Winter White House.”
The president invited Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and his wife to join him and first lady Melania Trump at the resort this weekend after the two met in D.C.
It’s customary for foreign leaders and the U.S. president to exchange gifts when they meet. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the prime minister’s free weekend at the resort was his gift for this visit.
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That rubbed some people the wrong way.
“Hosting a foreign leader at the president’s business resort creates impossible sets of conflicts,” Robert Weissman, who serves as president of the watchdog group Public Citizen, told the Associated Press.
“If the president hadn’t offered to pay, the U.S. government would be paying Donald Trump’s business for the purpose of hosting the Japanese leader,” he said, suggesting that Camp David in Maryland was a more appropriate venue.
“Why should you go to a resort in Florida?” Weissman said. “Fine, you want to go to a resort in Florida? Don’t go to one Trump’s family owns.”
But is it much ado about nothing?
The Associated Press noted that President George W. Bush often invited world leaders to his Texas ranch for meetings.
But somehow for President Trump, the attack dogs don’t see it the same way.
“It’s difficult, in effect, to get away inside the White House with the press corps in the same building,” Bruce Buchanan, a professor of politics at the University of Texas at Austin, said.
“In fact, it’s very desirable for presidents to have multiple venues within which to build and create relationships with other world leaders,” he added.
But it still had the president’s haters on social media calling it a conflict.
— Informed1 (@Stayguam) February 12, 2017
Why is Trump allowed to “host” at Mar a Lago? Surely this is yet more above and below line advertising of his business ventures? #conflict
— AntoniaD (@AntoniaDeeson) February 12, 2017
@FernandoAmandi I would personally be protesting at Mar a Lago, huge conflict of interest and profiteering for Brand, everyone silent, awful
— Janelle Espinosa (@JanelleEsp) February 12, 2017
@realDonaldTrump Isn’t using a private, money-making concern (Mar-a-Lago) for State business a conflict of interest?
— John Mundy (@JohnMundy) February 12, 2017
— Carly ?? (@patch1774) February 4, 2017
Promoting his resort and “paying” for PM Abe and his wife to stay there… hmmm – how is that not a conflict of interest? https://t.co/av1oRVHYA5
— Tara (@jandtrich) February 11, 2017
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