Lease agreement with U.S. General Services Administration prohibits closing access.
The Trump International Hotel in Washington has banned the press from its premises for inauguration week, Politico reports Wednesday.
Politico reporter Daniel Lippman was prevented from entering the property on Wednesday after being stopped and identifying himself as a journalist. Lippman writes that hotel’s director of sales and marketing Patricia Tang sent an email stating: “Media is not allowed in this week in respect of the privacy of our guests.”
The hotel is on federal property—it’s owned by the General Services Administration. Trump and his three adult children, Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Jr., hold a 60-year lease on it, a link to which Lippman includes in his story. It states that barring “a risk to public safety,” the tenant cannot close access, and that time restrictions would need approval of the landlord. In addition, Lippman notes:
D.C. legal code prohibits public places like hotels from denying “the full and equal enjoyment” of its facilities to people based on “source of income,” among other reasons, calling it an “unlawful discriminatory practice.” “Source of income” could reasonably include one’s occupation as a journalist.
Josh Voorhees writes at Slate that the story “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.”
In addition, notes Voorhees, the move also helps expose “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.”
The development follows a vow from the U.S. press corps that Trump will “face a united front” if he continues his hostility towards the press.
In an open letter published Tuesday at the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR), the publication’s editor-in-chief and publisher, Kyle Pope, also warns Trump that “off the record and other ground rules are ours—not yours—to set” and that “we decide how much airtime to give your spokespeople and surrogates.”
Via Angela Germanos, Common Dreams.