A U.S. State Department blog post that touts President Donald Trump's Florida resort has drawn criticism from Democrats and ethics watchdogs. The post, which was published on "Share America" April 4, has been republished by several U.S. embassies abroad.
The "Share America" website is a described as a "platform for sharing compelling stories and images that spark discussion and debate on important topics like democracy, freedom of expression, innovation, entrepreneurship, education, and the role of civil society.”
In the post, Mar-a-Lago is described as "President Trump’s Florida estate," where he is known to host foreign leaders. "Trump is not the first president to have access to Mar-a-Lago as a Florida retreat, but he is the first one to use it," the post says.
The post gained traction Monday when people saw the U.S. embassy to the UK was featuring it. It has since been deleted and replaced with the following message: "The intention of the article was to inform the public about where the President has been hosting world leaders. We regret any misperception."
What the post doesn't say, and what government watchdogs have pointed out, is that Mar-a-Lago is part of Trump's business empire and free publicity of this nature could ultimately benefit his bottom line.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) pointed to the post in a tweet Monday, asking "Why are taxpayer $$ promoting the President's private country club?"
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had the same question, tweeting "Why is @realDonaldTrump's State Dept promoting the President's private club? #Trump100Days"
The resort doubled its entry fee to $200,000 after Trump became president and he has visited Mar-a-Lago seven times since taking office.
So far, the State Department has not commented on whether the blog was vetted for ethical concerns, according to The Washington Post.