On Saturday, President Donald Trump visited Hawaii before departing on a 13 day trip to Asia. While there, the president visited the site of the USS Arizona to pay respects to those killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor, and attended a briefing by the leaders of the Pacific Command.
President Trump’s welcome was a little chilly. Protesters greeted the president with signs which read “Aloha means goodbye”. Other signs poked fun at the Birther movement Trump started against former president Barack Obama, saying “Welcome to Kenya”.
Before departing to China for the first leg of his Asian trip, President Trump paid a visit to one of his private properties, the Trump International Hotel in Waikiki. He was accompanied by senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Chief of Staff John Kelly.
As if the president taking time out of an official visit to conduct personal business wasn’t problematic enough, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders promoted the hotel during an official briefing. During the briefing, Huckabee Sanders was asked why President Trump visited his hotel. She replied, “It has been a tremendously successful project and he wanted to say hello and thank you to the employees for all their hard work.”
— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) November 5, 2017
Norm Eisen, White House Special Counsel for Ethics and Government Reform under former president Barack Obama, tweeted that Trump’s businesses cannot be promoted. One could argue that Huckabee Sanders was simply answering a question which was asked of her, which of course is what she was doing. Answering the question isn’t the issue; the way she answered the question is an ethical violation.
There was no need to comment on the supposed success of the hotel. Nor should a president be conducting personal business during visits while acting in capacity as our head of our country. Everyday Americans would be fired for running errands or going to get a haircut on their employer’s time.
Why are we, the people who President Trump is working for, tolerating this gross misconduct? This man was elected, albeit questionably, to represent us, not to further his business profits or hire staff to advertise his hotels during press briefings. We as Americans need to stop tolerating and justifying this behavior.