Trump’s new ho­tel of­fers all he claims to hate

Cecil Whig - - OPINION - Dana Mil­bank

— A bit af­ter 4 p.m. Thurs­day, the door­bell rang in my ho­tel room, Room 446 at the new Trump In­ter­na­tional Ho­tel in Wash­ing­ton. It was my Ko­ran. I had or­dered it from house­keep­ing.

I had checked in to ex­pe­ri­ence the just-opened Trump In­ter­na­tional Ho­tel in Wash­ing­ton, spend­ing $856 of Jeff Be­zos’s money, not in­clud­ing taxes and the $59 I spent on a salad and the $49 for half a bot­tle of un­drink­able bub­bly from the Trump win­ery.

Ex­am­in­ing my posh sur­round­ings — Ital­ian bed linens, French ta­ble linens, Chi­nese du­vet, Korean TV and, yes, Mex­i­can tequila ($14 for a shot of Pa­tron Sil­ver) in the mini­bar, er, “pri­vate bar,” I came across the Gideon bi­ble in the night­stand with a note on “TRUMP HO­TELS” sta­tionery:

“If you would like to con­tinue your spir­i­tual jour­ney, we also of­fer the fol­low­ings (sic): Tal­mud. Qu­ran. Gita. Avesta. Trip­i­taka (Pali Canon). Shri Guru Granth Sahib. Book of Mor­mon. Kindly con­tact House­keep­ing should you wish to have one de­liv­ered to your room.”

Sure enough, min­utes af­ter my call to house­keep­ing, a pleas­ant woman ar­rived with a copy of “The Glo­ri­ous Qur’an” in Ara­bic and English, along with a brown prayer rug and a com­pass point­ing in the “di­rec­tion of al Kabaa” in Mecca. I ex­pressed skep­ti­cism to her that the ho­tel also kept a copy of the Tal­mud, mil­lions of words and many vol­umes of Jewish law. “I will find it for you,” she vowed. I tipped her $4 for the ko­ran and de­clined the Tal­mud.

The ex­change, which I un­der­took wear­ing a madein-China “Trump Ho­tels” bathrobe and Trump slip­pers, says ev­ery­thing you need to know about Don­ald Trump. Trump the can­di­date has talked of ban­ning Mus­lims from the coun­try and forc­ing those here to reg­is­ter and sub­mit to sur­veil­lance. But Trump the hote­lier wel­comes Mus­lims with ko­rans and prayer rugs.

It was a fur­ther re­minder, as if one were needed, that the man who would take up res­i­dence just five blocks up Penn­syl­va­nia Av­enue from his new ho­tel is a char­la­tan.

He cam­paigns on an “Amer­ica First” theme — yet about the only Amer­i­can-made thing I could find in my ho­tel room was the small pack­age of milk-choco­late Trump gold bul­lion ($25).

He por­trays him­self as a pop­ulist friend of the lit­tle guy, yet he makes money rent­ing out a pres­i­den­tial suite for $18,000 a night (a sign in­formed me that the max­i­mum nightly rate for my room was $5,600).

He de­rides the “es­tab­lish­ment” but makes his liv­ing cater­ing to it. The ho­tel lobby fea­tures a Bri­oni boutique and three-foot-tall bot­tles of Veuve Clic­quot shar­ing a bar­top with Dom Perignon; the room comes with a copy of Wine Spec­ta­tor (“The Cheese Is­sue”); the ho­tel charges $15 to laun­der a shirt, $12 for Peanut M&Ms and $26 for a ham­burger (sorry, no taco bowls).

In my room, I found a Trump logo bath­mat and tow­els from In­dia, bone china from Ja­pan, two tele­phones from Malaysia, a Swiss re­frig­er­a­tor, Ger­man cof­fee cups and Trump soaps and lo­tions from Canada, and, from China, all four lamps, cof­fee ma­chine, bath­room scale, valet stand and shower cap. The ho­tel’s manag­ing direc­tor is from France. Most ho­tel work­ers I met dur­ing my stay had Caribbean or African ac­cents.

Ac­cept­ing the pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion, Trump por­trayed a na­tion and world fac­ing the End of Days: “mo­ment of cri­sis ... vi­o­lence in our streets ... chaos in our com­mu­ni­ties ... war and de­struc­tion.”

Trump’s new ho­tel sug­gests things may not be quite so bad. Mo­ments af­ter I ar­rived, a waiter came un­bid­den with a white choco­late model of the Capi­tol dome, del­i­cate mac­a­roons, truf­fles and choco­late-cov­ered straw­ber­ries. The in-room bar had Ma­callan 12-yearold sin­gle-malt Scotch and John­nie Walker Blue La­bel. A sign on the desk in­formed me that the “Trump At­tache Ser­vice” would put me in a “VIP” frame of mind, “where de­sires are in­tu­ited and re­quests an­tic­i­pated.” A mar­ket­ing brochure told me that the still-un­opened Spa by Ivanka Trump would “cre­ate path­ways for each guest to in­ner health and ex­ter­nal beauty.”

There was a feel­ing that the open­ing had been rushed to pre­cede a cer­tain date — say, Nov. 8. Util­ity work­ers were lay­ing ca­ble out­side, and my con­fir­ma­tion let­ter re­ferred to me as “Mr. **.” There was also sym­bol­ism in the nam­ing of the sec­ond-floor meet­ing rooms: Eisen­hower, Bush, Roo­sevelt, Rea­gan, Wil­son, Adams, Kennedy and Jef­fer­son — “Jeff” in the mar­ket­ing brochure — and, among them, the “DJT Board­room.”

In this one as­pect — hubris — Trump the hote­lier and Trump the can­di­date are the same.

Dana Mil­bank is a syn­di­cated colum­nist. Con­tact him at danamil­bank@wash­post.com.

WASH­ING­TON

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