Despite his repeated assurances that he would not profit from being president, a new report from The Washington Post suggests those promises are, like nearly everything Donald Trump says, a lie.
As recently as March of this year, during a trip Trump and his wife Melania made to the president’s exclusive Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, the White House forked over nearly $1,100 to reserve a room at Mar-a-Lago for two nights. Your tax dollars paid for that reservation.
A receipt obtained this week by the advocacy group Property of the People shows conclusively that Trump’s extensive use of Mar-a-Lago, which has also been called the “Winter White House” means that the president is in direct violation of the Emoluments Clause of the United States Constitution, which prohibits the head of state from profiting from business while in office. The Emoluments Clause states that the American president “shall not receive . . . any other emolument” other than his fixed government salary.
The receipt for the reservation does not contain any details as to who exactly stayed in the room at Mar-a-Lago. Instead, there is only a notation at the top of the page which reads:
“National Security Council.”
Asked about the receipt, the White House declined to comment, as did officials from the Trump Organization and Mar-a-Lago.
Kathleen Clark, a law professor at Washington University said the reservation raises new concerns that the president is indeed playing fast and loose with the rules:
“The choice to stay there and have the government pay the $546-a-night rate seems imprudent. If it were not owned by the president, it would still seem problematic. The fact that it’s owned by the president makes it doubly problematic.”
On the weekend that the government paid for the room at Mar-a-Lago, March 3 and 4, Trump was joined by several top administration officials, including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, then-chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon and then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, according to the Post.
If Trump were found to be in violation of the Emoluments Clause, could he be impeached for that reason? Possibly, but the case being built against the president by Special Counsel Robert Mueller will likely take precedence in any future discussions of removing Trump from office.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org