State Department promotion of Trump's Mar-a-Lago draws fire

Melba UnderwoodApr 25, 2017

Nonetheless, Eric Trump recently compared his father's visits to Mar-a-Lago to President George W. Bush's trips to his ranch in Texas. The post, which appears to be written prior to Trump hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago, continues by noting the meetings Trump will have with world leaders at the private club in the future. Trump broke precedent by not divesting from his business interests when he became president.

The post linked to a longer description of Mar-a-Lago by Share America, which is the State Department's "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", the Guardian reported.

The State Department had no immediate comment on whether the item was appropriate or had been vetted for legal or ethical concerns.

Jordan Libowitz of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said the post "reads nearly like an ad for Mar-a-Lago". The State Department said in the posting that when Trump acquired the property, he "bought the decorations and furnishings that Post had collected over the years, preserving Mar-a-Lago's style and taste".

That Facebook page isn't the only official State Department account to promote Trump's "winter White House" private club with posts that link back to the Share America article.

"This is outrageous, more exploitation of public office for Trump's personal gain", Eisen said.

An official government website promoting the private members club, which costs $200,000 to join, again raises concerns that Trump is using the presidency to enrich himself. The home was originally built in 1927 by cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post.

A quick search via Google and via the State Department did not find the article on other State Dept. websites for countries other than the United Kingdom. In February, Senator Elizabeth Warren called on the Government Accountability Office to review whether national security protocols were being followed at the property after Trump and Abe dealt with a North Korean missile launch in the club's dining room.

Mar-a-Lago has been a lightning rod for those accusing the Trump administration of conflicts of interest. "Why are taxpayer $$ promoting the President's private country club", he wrote.

A page on the website of the U.S. embassy in London described Mar-a-Lago as "the winter White House", even though it is a private club and its annual membership fees are $200,000.

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