Before heading out to 12-day Asia tour, which experts fear will fan the conflict between the United States and North Korea, President Donald Trump took time out to blur the lines between national politics and his own bottom line.
On his way back from a visit to the USS Arizona Memorial in Honolulu, Hawaii, which commemorates the victims of the Pearl Harbor attack, Trump made a stop at the Trump Hotel in Waikiki, where he met with the hotel’s staff.
According to reporters accompanying the president on the taxpayer-funded trip, the stop was both unexpected and unannounced.
White House Press Secretary Huckabee Sanders said Trump only wanted to thank the staff for their efforts in making the hotel a “tremendously successful project."
Trump’s stop at a private business associated with his name during a taxpayer-funded trip once again raises questions about the commander-in-chief's conflicts of interest.
Last November, Trump officially separated himself from his businesses, but the supposed separation has not stopped POTUS from using his powers to seemingly advance his businesses.
Memberships charges for Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, where members can listen in on the president’s conversations, have increased since Trump's election.
His children have also profited from selling his campaign merchandise, while state officials have also supported his children’s businesses.
The trip was not, thankfully, completely grim.
When Trump touched down in Hawaii, protestors stood around the airport with placards that said “Welcome to Kenya."
The placards were a gibe at the birther conspiracy, of which Trump was a vocal supporter, that asserted that Obama was born in Kenya and not Hawaii.
The mood in Hawaii seemed to be a little averse to Trump. The protesters called their rally “Hawaii 3- Trump 0”, alluding to the times Trump has tried, and failed, to ban immigrants.
Banner/Thumbnail: Reuters, Jonathan Ernst