President Trump raised more eyebrows than an Upper West Side plastic surgeon on Wednesday, hosting a D.C. fundraiser for his re-election which cost five figures a plate, took place at a Trump hotel from which he is supposed to be recused financially, and during which he made racist remarks from the dais.
The fundraiser was held at the Trump hotel in Washington’s Old Post Office, which is leased to the Trump organization by a government agency. It cost $35,000 a plate, which will purportedly be split between Trump’s re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee.
It is unclear what was on the menu.
After taking the podium to address the assembled donors, Trump tried out different pronunciations of Qatar, before saying it didn’t matter because “you can’t help terrorists,” a CNN producer reported.
The president had recently landed in hot water for excoriating Qatar, before advisers reminded (or notified) him that the United States has a military airbase there.
The president also asked the crowd if CNN, which he has called “fake news,” was “getting hammered,” to enthusiastic applause.
“It was well worth what everybody paid,” the producer reported a dinner attendee said.
As of last week, Trump has visited his for-profit properties 37 times as president. Ethics experts have objected, telling Associated Press that the visits “double as a form of advertising that inappropriately enriches him.”
Ahead of the dinner, the nonpartisan watchdog group American Oversight sued the General Services Administration (the government agency that leases the hotel to the Trump Organization) to release communications between the Trump Organization and managers of the taxpayer-owned hotel. “President Trump’s fundraiser isn’t just raising funds for his campaign, it’s putting money into his personal pocketbook,” said Austin Evers, American Oversight’s executive director and a State Department lawyer during the Obama administration.
Down the street, Senate Republicans were toiling to tweak their healthcare bill — which has been estimated to remove 22 million Americans from health insurance and cut $770 billion from Medicaid — by tomorrow.