Well, this is fitting. The Trump International Hotel in Washington has reportedly barred reporters during inauguration week.
“Media is not allowed in this week in respect of the privacy of our guests,” Patricia Tang, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing, told Politico’s Daniel Lippman in an email on Wednesday. That comment came after Lippman says he attempted to enter the hotel earlier in the day to have breakfast but was denied entry and told that “media” were not allowed in.
I’ve contacted the hotel for comment on both the reporter’s story and the apparent media restriction, and will update if I hear back. But in the meantime the report reveals two ominous signs about what we can expect in a Trump administration. First, it’s a reminder that Donald Trump and his associates—both inside the government and out of it—have no interest in allowing reporters access unless it is on Trump’s terms. The president-elect has held one and only one press conference since Election Day—during which he refused to answer a question from CNN after it ran a story he did not like—and has instead remained more or less holed up in Trump-branded properties. His team, meanwhile, is openly flirting with the idea of removing the White House press corps from their workspace in the West Wing, where they’ve had desks for at least five decades, to a different federal building farther from Trump and his senior staff.
Second, the apparent ban further illustrates the absurdity of Trump’s announced plan to separate himself from his family business empire, of which the new D.C. hotel has become a pillar. Trump and his three adult children hold a 60-year lease on the property—the historic Post Office Pavilion—but the property itself is owned by the U.S. government. (It appears fairly clear that Trump will be in violation of that lease as soon as he is sworn in on Friday.) In short: A hotel operated by the president-elect on a property owned by U.S. taxpayers seems to have banned reporters from a business that now presents a clear way for individuals and businesses to curry favor with Trump. It’s unclear whether that decision came from Trump himself. But either way, it resembles the abuse of power we’ve come to expect from this incoming president.