Sci-tech

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

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

Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with President Trump (R) as he is accompanied by China's first lady Peng Liyuan during a dinner at the start of a summit between President Trump and President Xi at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate on April 6, 2017 in West Palm Beach, Florida. It was also shared on the websites and social media pages of several USA embassies, including those in the United Kingdom, Portugal and Albania, as well as the State Department's Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. Congressional Republicans and Democrats are asking questions about Trump's conflicts of interest and threatening investigations into the president's conflicts. Trump's full visitor lists at Mar-a-Lago and the White House remain secret.

Critics complained that resources were being used to tout the for-profit club, which Trump refers to as the Winter White House. Ron Wyden (D-OR) wrote on Twitter, as he said he would like to know more about why Mar-a-Lago is getting publicity from the U.S. Government on Facebook, the website of the U.S. Embassy in London, and more.

In a statement sent to ThinkProgress, Norm Eisen, former Obama administration ethics czar, said the State Department's conduct appears to be a violation of a federal statute prohibiting federal employees from using public offices for private gaine.

A State Department spokesman said he was not aware of the webpage when asked about it. "Using the government's megaphone to promote Mar-a-Lago" is like when Kellyanne Conway, a top Trump aide, urged people during a television interview to buy Ivanka Trump's clothing line.

The post was summarized in an April 5 blog post on the website for the USA embassy in London, which directed readers back to the full Share America piece.

U.S. Treasury's Mnuchin Urges IMF to Enhance Exchange Rate Surveillance
During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on China and Mexico and called global warming a hoax. Schaeuble said there was "broad agreement" that "free trade is better for global growth".


The Office of Government Ethics found that to be a violation, but Conway was not punished, despite being "counseled" on the matter.

"Publishing promotional materials for the President's private business is clearly inappropriate, whether he is using it for official business or not", he said.

Post willed the estate to the USA government in 1973, hoping it would be used as a presidential retreat, according to the same blog post. The post also noted that "Trump opened the estate to dues-paying members of the public in 1995 as the Mar-a-Lago Club". After his election, the resort doubled its membership fee to $200,000. 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.

"Why are taxpayer $$ promoting the President's private country club?"


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