A State Department Website Plugs Mar-a-Lago Resort

Donald Trump's Mar-a Lago estate in Palm Beach
YURI GRIPAS Donald Trump's Mar-a Lago estate in Palm Beach

25 April, 2017

Check out this quote, and remember that this is an article on a taxpayer funded government website, "That opened the way for Trump, a real-estate magnate, to purchase the property in 1985".

In a markedly promotional blog post from April 5 that could eventually benefit the President's bottom line, should it spur membership or foreign visits, the embassy writes that the property has "become well known as the President frequently travels there to work or host foreign leaders".

The article was replaced with a statement that says "the intention of the article was to inform the public about where the President has been hosting world leaders".

Acting State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters Monday he was unaware of the post. "And we know that Mar-a-Lago has benefited from President Trump being elected president", Tapper said on CNN's "The Lead".

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.

But what it doesn't mention is that Mar-a-Lago is perhaps the most obvious vehicle Trump is using to profit off the presidency.

A glowing description of President Donald Trump's Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago - calling it the "winter White House" - has been posted on two State Department websites, drawing criticism from ethics watchdogs and Democrats.

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On Twitter, Richard Painter, who served in an ethics role for President George W. Bush, called the State Department post "Use of public office for private gain pure and simple".

The ShareAmerica.gov posting describes the ornate décor of the 114-room mansion, which was built in 1927 by cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post.

"Why would these officials choose to put out communications praising Mar-a-Lago when it's so clearly a conflict?" asked John Wonderlich, executive director of the Sunlight Foundation, which promotes government transparency.

Following Trump's election to the White House, Mar-a-Lago doubled its membership fee.

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

In March, congressional Democrats introduced a bill to force disclosure of the names of visitors meeting with Trump and other administration officials at the club and at Trump Tower in NY. Trump used taxpayer resources to promote his private club for the goal of personal enrichment. He turned the home into a lavish country club as well as a residence for himself.

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