What is 1100 Pennsylvania?
1100 Pennsylvania reports on the Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C. and President Trump’s other businesses. The hotel’s address is 1100 Pennsylvania Ave NW. It didn’t seem likely that the Trump Organization would enter into a licensing deal to allow me to use its name in this publication’s title (although it’s made questionable choices in that area before), so I had to be creative.
The president’s D.C. hotel is the focus of three groundbreaking lawsuits about the U.S. Constitution’s foreign and domestic emoluments clauses. It’s a popular spot for GOP politicians and like-minded groups to hold fundraisers and other events. Real and would-be powerbrokers drink nightly at its bar, as do D.C. lobbyists and out-of-towners (sometimes representing foreign powers) hoping to influence government policy—or just catch a glimpse of their favorite politician or Fox News personality. All in a building leased from the U.S. government. And the U.S. president owns 77 percent of the hotel and can still profit from it.
So, yeah, it’s worth taking a deep look at.
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1100Pennsylvania is published most weekday mornings, with a recap of the week’s top stories sent out on Saturdays.
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Who are you anyway?
I started reporting on the Trump Hotel D.C. for Fox News right before it opened. Shortly thereafter I pitched my editor at Condé Nast Traveler a feature on the hotel that would go beyond just looking at it from a travel perspective, but also report out its legal and ethical issues from the vantage point of a weekend stay there. At 5,500 or so words, “Inside the World’s Most Controversial Hotel” provides an-depth look at what’s up with the hotel.
I’ve continued to research social-media posts, campaign-finance reports, and legal filings, as well as making FOIA requests and monitoring other sources to report on what’s happening there. Originally I started sharing most of my findings on Twitter and publishing the juicier scoops on The Daily Beast or Fast Company.
A daily newsletter though feels like the best way to tell the story of the president’s hotel.
It’s a big deal in traditional media the first time something happens at the Trump Hotel D.C.—like the RNC hosting an event, a foreign embassy throwing a gala to celebrate the home country, or Trump headlining a fundraiser for himself—and it gets major coverage. But when those events happen again and again and again, they don’t get as much coverage. Old news.
But what’s seems more consequential, newsworthy, and relevant is that these events and sightings at the Trump Hotel D.C. keep happening. The administration officials frequenting their boss’s bar, the state politicians enjoying a nice steak dinner, and the lobbyists holding functions are not outliers—they are not one-time events. It’s the subsequent visits, all the small datapoints that show the trends and potential conflicts.
What happens to this newsletter if the hotel closes or when Trump leaves office?
1100 Pennsylvania is also the address of the University of Colorado’s Kappa Sigma fraternity house, so I’ll report on its doings. Or start digging into another newsworthy subject.