Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump made a rare appearance in Washington on Monday to try to shore up support from a skeptical Republican establishment, deliver a highly-anticipated speech to a major pro-Israel lobby — and, while he was at it, boast about the new luxury hotel he’s building in town.
Gone were the standard “Make America Great Again” podium plaques and red campaign baseball cap he often adorns. At an event organized by campaign aides, the billionaire businessman spoke at a podium labeled “Trump Hotels,” with renderings of the hotel’s palatial future ballroom, guest rooms and other spots flanking him on both sides.
“It’s being sealed-up now,” he said, playing the part of real estate developer once more. “All the work has been done, as you see the ducts have been put in, all of the electric has been put in.”
She hugged him and kissed him on the cheek before being whisked away by one of Trump’s associates.
The episode was the latest example of the master marketer’s increasing tendency to intermingle his campaign with his business ventures, leveraging the attention he’s attracted on the campaign trail to boost his brand.
But mentioned most often is the hotel project, which Trump has repeatedly touted as evidence of the kind of thinking he’ll bring to the White House. The project, he likes to brag, is on budget and scheduled to be completed in September — two years ahead of schedule, he says. It also gives him the option of living on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, regardless of whether or not he ends up in the White House.
“We want to make this one of the great hotels in the world and I think it’s coming out that way. I think you’re going to be very proud of it, the country will be very proud of it,” he said.