The Embassy of Kuwait allegedly cancelled a contract with a Washington, D.C. hotel days after the presidential election, citing political pressure to hold its National Day celebration at the Trump International Hotel instead.
A source tells ThinkProgress that the Kuwaiti embassy, which has regularly held the event at the Four Seasons in Georgetown, abruptly canceled its reservation after members of the Trump Organization pressured the ambassador to hold the event at the hotel owned by the president-elect. The source, who has direct knowledge of the arrangements between the hotels and the embassy, spoke to ThinkProgress on the condition of anonymity because the individual was not authorized to speak publicly. ThinkProgress was also able to review documentary evidence confirming the source’s account.
In the early fall, the Kuwaiti Embassy signed a contract with the Four Seasons. But after the election, members of the Trump Organization contacted the Ambassador of Kuwait, Salem Al-Sabah, and encouraged him to move his event to Trump’s D.C. hotel, the source said.
Kuwait has now signed a contract with the Trump International Hotel, the source said, adding that a representative with the embassy described the decision as political. Invitations to the event are typically sent out in January.
Less than two weeks after that event, Politico reported that Bahrain, another Middle Eastern monarchy, would host its National Day reception at the Trump hotel on December 7.
Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) harshly criticized the Bahrain event, writing in a letter to Trump that he should “reject all business income from the Bahraini monarchy and all other foreign governments.” McGovern wrote that Trump’s “private commercial dealings with a repressive governments” endanger the fundamental principle that the president will “act solely in our country’s interests.”
The Republic of Azerbaijan also recently co-hosted a Hanukkah party at the Trump hotel, despite the anti-Semitic undertones of the Trump campaign. Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, blasted the decision as “tone deaf at best, naked sycophancy at worst.”
Smaller countries like Kuwait, Bahrain, and Azerbaijan may perceive patronizing the Trump Hotel as an easy way to gain access and favor with the incoming Trump administration.
And there’s the tone of the new administration, as corrupt as could possibly be. I’m not altogether sure why conservatives aren’t in a tizzy over this, perhaps they feel this is just normal rich guy privilege, or they are hoping to get a slice of the fat pie. It’s a free for all now, whoever manages to toss a bit of money and flattery Trump’s way will get whatever they want. Today’s mood: I want off this ship before it sinks all the way down.