State Dept. Promotes Mar-a-Lago on Taxpayer-Funded Websites
WASHINGTON, April 25, 2017—A State Department website and at least one U.S. Embassy website shared a post promoting Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s for profit country club and home to his al fresco situation room. The State Department took the post down Monday after severe criticism from lawmakers and the media.
Trump’s Florida club has been considered a major conflict of interest since Trump took office and has spent 25 of his first 100 days at taxpayer expense there. He has hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping, generating millions in free global advertising for his for-profit business.
Calling Mar-a-Lago “the winter White House,” the original post first appeared on the Share America website, “the U.S. Department of State’s platform for sharing compelling stories and images that spark discussion and debate on important topics.” It was later shared by the U.S. Embassy in London.
The blatant use of public funds and resources to promote Donald Trump’s for-profit business was noticed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Senator Ron Wyden.
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) April 24, 2017
— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) April 24, 2017
The embassy and Share America took the posts down Monday, Share America posting,
“The intention of the article was to inform the public about where the President has been hosting world leaders. We regret any misperception and have removed the post.”
The unfortunate post may have disappeared, but the conflicts of interest and ethical questions surrounding Donald Trump’s private businesses will only grow.
The post can only be described as a promotional piece for a business that will ultimately financially benefit Donald Trump. Common Cause, an ethics advocacy group, filed a complaint Tuesday, calling for the Office of Government Ethics and State Department to open an investigation into the publication of the promotional piece on taxpayer-funded sites.
Featured image: Wally Gobetz, Flickr Creative Commons