One of the recurring stories throughout the first year of the Trump administration has been the Trump family's business empire, and the ethics (or lack thereof) of the president owning so many businesses while running the country. Perhaps the most scrutiny has been directed at the Trump International Hotel, a popular Washington, D.C. destination complete with a pricey room named after the president's daughter. In short, if you're not aware of what the "Ivanka Trump Suite" is, the folks with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) would like you to learn.
On Saturday, Jordan Libowitz and Walker Davis of CREW published a report tracking the rising value of Ivanka's name, in the form of her fashion, accessory, and jewelry lines, as well as the Trump International Hotel rooms that bear her name.
According to the report, as of one year ago, the hotel's Ivanka suite was one of its cheapest suites. In the months that have followed, however, the Ivanka suite prices have escalated more sharply than those of any other style of suite, while one of them has actually decreased in price. As of Jan. 6, 2017, the cost of a night's stay in the Ivanka suite was just $914 ― an eye-popping price tag, no doubt, but a relative pittance compared to what it costs now.
As of Jan. 5, 2018, according to CREW's report, the price of a night in the Ivanka suite has swelled to $2,134, more than twice what it was just one year prior. Contrasting this against the price changes for the other types of suites at the Trump International Hotel lays bare how Ivanka's name is getting a bump.
The price of an executive one-bedroom suite has been cut almost in half over the same period of time, and although the other suites have also jumped in price, none have to the same extent as the ones bearing Ivanka's name.
For instance, the second-highest price jump over that time was for a deluxe one-bedroom suite. That price tag escalated by nearly $500 per night, but that's still a far cry from the more than $1,200 hike on the price of the Ivanka suite. As the CREW report notes, the description of the suite on the hotel's official website does not suggest any changes have been made to justify the massive price increase.
This isn't the first time questions have been raised about the ethics of the first family potentially leveraging its name for financial gain. Since his inauguration last year, some constitutional experts have argued that the president's ongoing ownership of his business empire constitutes a violation of the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The Trump International Hotel itself has been central to those arguments, owing to the fact that foreign dignitaries and officials have reportedly stayed there in the hopes of currying favor with the president. Prior to taking office, Trump also pledged to donate all Trump Organization profits resulting from payments by foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury.
As NBC News noted last March, however, the Trump Organization has reportedly not been tracking all its possible income from foreign governments, which would make donating those profits much more difficult. This week, Democrats called on the administration to provide proof that he's followed through on this promise. For the record, Trump attorney Sheri Dillon maintained prior to his inauguration that his hotel business does not violate the emoluments clause, and an emoluments-related lawsuit was thrown out of court weeks ago.
The president has also previously used the platform of his office to advocate for his eldest daughter's business interests. Back in February, just weeks after assuming office, Trump blasted the department store Nordstrom on Twitter for dropping Ivanka's line. Nordstrom maintained that the decision was not political, but that the Ivanka brand was suffering from declining sales.