State Department Website Features Trump's For-Profit Club, Mar-A-Lago

25 April, 2017, 03:05 | Author: Jacqueline Ellis
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The article gives a brief summary of the 1927 mansion's history, including Post's desire that it be used by US presidents as a retreat and the subsequent decision by the USA government that the property was too expensive to maintain.

Under the heading "A Dream Deferred" - drawing on a famous line from the Langston Hughes poem "Harlem" - it says the original socialite owner wanted Mar-a-Lago to be a retreat for American presidents but notes it didn't happen until Trump won the election.

In a markedly promotional blog post from April 5 that could eventually benefit the President's bottom line, should it spur membership or foreign visits, the embassy writes that the property has "become well known as the President frequently travels there to work or host foreign leaders".

A blog post about this history of Mar-a-Lago by author Leigh Hartman first appeared on Share America, a website run by the State Department, on April 4.

The State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

"After refurbishing the house and adding an events space, Trump opened the estate to dues-paying members of the public in 1995 as the Mar-a-Lago Club", the State Department item reads.

The Mar-a-Lago Club has already seemingly benefited from Trump's presidency.

A U.S. State Department website on Monday took down an article it published this month about President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort which had prompted criticism from prominent ethics experts that the piece represented use of public office for private gain. Eisen argued that the posts broke federal regulations because the State Department and embassies "are using official channels to promote a private business, which happens to be that of their ultimate superior, the president".

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Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was among those taking to Twitter to question whether the posts violated government ethics rules.

It later lauds the resort itself, saying that builder Marjorie Merriweather Post "spared no expense" for it.

But on the webpage about Mar-a-Lago, there was no discussion of policy. He said the posting was a "clearly inappropriate" use of government resources.

The focus on something so close to the President is also a departure for the State Department, whose blogs normally recount officials' press conferences or praising landmarks such as Frank LLoyd Wright's Falling Water. Trump bought the estate four years later.

Mar-a-Lago has been a lightning rod for those accusing the Trump administration of conflicts of interest.

He has entertained foreign dignitaries - including Xi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe - but he has also spent considerable time on the golf course, including at his nearby Trump International Golf Club.

The club was a frequent stop for Trump even during his campaign for the White House.


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