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Foreign diplomats won nights at Trump's hotels. Critics say it's a conflict of interest.by Circa News
Issues

The Trump International Hotel is drawing criticism after about 100 foreign diplomats toured the recently opened $212 million Washington, D.C. hotel, winning prizes that included stays at other Trump hotels.

That's raising eyebrows among those who think the hotels could spark conflicts of interest with President-elect Donald Trump, The Washington Post reports. Diplomats who spoke to the Post under the condition of anonymity said visiting the hotel was a way to show courtesy to Trump.

"Why wouldn't I stay at his hotel blocks from the White House ... Isn't it rude to come to his city and say, 'I am staying at your competitor?'"

Anonymous Asian diplomat

Former Mexican ambassador to the U.S. Arturo Sarukhan said some diplomats would "think it's the right way to engage," but he personally would discourage it to avoid the appearance of "[buying] influence via a hotel bill."

It would take congressional action to stop diplomats from staying at the hotel, which opened in September. The Library of Congress said in an analysis last month that there was "no current legal requirement" to compel Trump to ban diplomats from his hotel.  

Trump has said he would let his children take over his businesses in a "blind trust." But critics, including Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) have cried foul.

Some reporters feared serious consequences from the hotel.

Richard Painter, formerly the chief ethics counsel to former President George W. Bush, said Trump was in position to violate the U.S. Constitution unless he sold the hotel or gifted it to his children, ThinkProgress reports.