Trump critics including the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) denounced a fundraising email sent out by Congressional Republicans in Congress on Monday that appeared to add to President Donald Trump’s list of conflicts of interest since he entered office in January.
Donald Trump should not be personally profiting off the presidencyhttps://t.co/raaBjTxCIw
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) November 20, 2017
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) offered supporters who donated at least ten dollars to the group a chance to win a weekend in Washington, D.C. next month—including a stay at the president’s hotel in the nation’s capitol.
“We’re sending a lucky conservative (and a friend) to our nation’s capital to experience the most magical time of the year,” read the email. “Get an all-expenses paid trip and stay in Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C. for a weekend of Christmas magic.”
Trump has been accused of profiting off of his presidency, notably by CREW, which has sued (pdf) him for illegally receiving payments from foreign governments. Foreign dignitaries have stayed in the Trump International Hotel since he was elected president, which the group says amounts to a violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution.
“No Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State,” reads the clause.
The president turned over control of his business to his sons Donald, Jr. and Eric after his inauguration. But the lines between the presidency and the Trumps’ real estate and hotel empire have been blurred since January.
Both sons, while not officially working in the administration, have served as surrogates for his father, with Eric giving an interview on Fox News Sunday over the weekend about Trump’s national security policy.
Meanwhile, the president has plugged his properties in numerous official speeches, notably mentioning Trump World Tower in New York in his first address to the United Nations General Assembly in September and discussing his winery near Charlottesville, Virginia during a press briefing about the white supremacist rally that resulted in the death of a counter-protester ion August.
Jordan Libowitz of CREW said the NRCC’s fundraising email is just the latest example of the danger of Trump’s failure to completely cut ties with his business interests, placing his assets in a blind trust as his predecessors did before him.
“This is the problem with a president who refuses to divest from his businesses: Political groups allied with him will go out of their way to profit his businesses,” Libowitz said in an interview with Newsweek. “There’s a difference between what’s technically legal and what’s ethically right. Donald Trump should not be personally profiting off the presidency.”
Other critics spoke out on social media about the NRCC’s decision to bring new hotel guests into Trump’s property in exchange for donations.
— Kenneth P. Vogel (@kenvogel) November 20, 2017
— Jackson Steele (@askboomer1949) November 20, 2017
— Randy Bryce (@IronStache) November 20, 2017