The Senate Republicans’ campaign arm is hosting a multi-day retreat at the Trump International Hotel next month, the latest in a series of GOP events that have the added purpose of enriching the president’s company.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee is hosting a “Save the Senate” retreat from November 7 to 8 at the Washington, D.C., hotel. Listed on the invitation as attending are Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Kentucky), NRSC Chair Todd Young (Indiana), Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia), Steve Daines (Montana), Cory Gardner (Colorado), Jim Risch (Idaho), Pat Roberts (Kansas), Dan Sullivan (Alaska), and Thom Tillis (North Carolina), along with Michigan Senate candidate John James.
Republicans currently hold a majority in the Senate, or 53 out of 100 seats, and it’s an uphill battle for Democrats to gain the four seats — or three seats and the presidency — they need to change that in 2020. Still, with plummeting approval numbers in some of the contested seats and a crop of progressive candidates building impressive momentum, Republicans are proceeding with caution. NRSC communications director Jesse Hunt did not respond to a request for comment.
Since Trump’s election, he has used the office of the presidency to enrich his businesses. He is facing lawsuits in at least two states, including Maryland and the District of Columbia, over violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which bars the president from accepting gifts or financial gains from foreign governments.
On Thursday, White House Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney announced that next year’s G-7 summit would take place at the president’s Trump National Doral Miami golf resort in Florida. Democratic Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island said the news constituted another breach of the emoluments clause. The Doral resort lost 62 percent of its operating income between 2016 and 2017, and its revenue fell 13.8 percent, Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold tweeted.
The GOP itself has spent big bucks at Trump-owned properties. The Trump Organization has taken in $4.2 million from Republican candidates and committees since 2016, the Washington Post reported last year. Officials who have spent the most money at Trump properties during that same period of time include Trump himself; Reps. Kevin McCarthy, Roger Williams, Michael McCaul, Jodey Arrington; and former Reps. Dana Rohrabacher, Bill Shuster, and Tom MacArthur. Earlier on Thursday, Larry Kudlow, a Trump adviser who directs the U.S. National Economic Council, gave remarks at the Trump International Hotel, Zach Everson, who covers conflicts of interest at Trump’s D.C. hotel, reported.
House Republicans held a fundraising dinner at Trump’s Washington hotel on Tuesday, the night of the Democratic primary debate. The Republican National Committee has held multiple events at the D.C. hotel since Trump was elected, including a 2016 Christmas party and a fundraising gala.
Asked if he would be at the event, Tillis told The Intercept, “I really don’t know.”
Risch, in a Capitol Hill interview, also said he didn’t know if he would attend. “I generally go to GOP retreats. They’re nice, I like ’em. I have a lot of friends there,” he said. To the question of whether or not he thought it was appropriate for the GOP to be holding a fundraiser at the Trump Hotel, Risch waved his hand as if to brush off the question. “I wouldn’t — I’ll let you take that up with somebody else. But thanks for asking.”