Eric trump’s business trip to uruguay cost taxpayers $97,830 in hotel bills – the washington post symptoms of a minor concussion

It was a high-profile jaunt out of the country for Eric, the fresh-faced executive of the Trump Organization who, like his father, pledged to keep the company separate from the presidency. Eric mingled with real estate brokers, dined at an open-air beachfront eatery and spoke to hundreds at an “ultra exclusive” Trump Tower Punta del Este evening party celebrating his visit.

The Uruguayan trip shows how the government is unavoidably entangled with the Trump company as a result of the president’s refusal to divest his ownership stake. In this case, government agencies are forced to pay to support business operations that ultimately help to enrich the president himself. Though the Trumps have pledged a division of business and government, they will nevertheless depend on the publicly funded protection granted to the first family as they travel the globe promoting their brand.

The bill for the Secret Service’s hotel rooms in Uruguay totaled $88,320. The U.S. Embassy in Montevideo, the capital city of Uruguay, paid an additional $9,510 for its staff to stay in hotel rooms to “support” the Secret Service detail for the “VIP visit,” according to purchasing orders reviewed by The Washington Post.

Despite the use of public funds, government agencies would not provide key details connected to the trip, including the duration of the stay, the name of the hotel or the number of booked rooms. A spokesman from the Secret Service, citing security concerns, declined to comment.

The money for the hotel rooms was paid through the State Department, but a spokesman there declined to comment on the trip. He instead referred reporters to the White House and back to the Secret Service, whose spokesman once again declined to comment. The White House also did not respond to requests for comment.

“There is a public benefit to providing Secret Service protection,” Clark said. “But what was the public benefit from State Department personnel participating in this private business trip to the coastal town? It raises the specter of the use of public resources for private gain.”

In 1917, Congress first authorized the then-Secret Service Division of the U.S. Treasury Department to protect the immediate family of the president. In 1984, a statute extended that protection for other key individuals, including the immediate family of the vice president.

“The Secret Service does not have an option as to when it is, where it is, nor as to how much it costs, and whether it’s domestic or international,” said W. Ralph Basham, former director of the service. “Think about the consequences of something happening to one of the children. The security of it outweighs the expenses of it.”

La Nación, an Argentine publication, began its article about the visit with a scene-setter describing two Secret Service agents inside the Punta del Este showroom. Four more agents tried, unsuccessfully, to blend in with the crowd of real estate buyers outside, La Nación wrote.

“He had lunch there for about an hour and a half with some friends and acquaintances,” photographer Cristian Cordoba said in an email to The Post. “Secret Service was very close by monitoring. He was very kind and courteous with everyone that wanted to say hi to him. He even shook my hand after I took his picture. He said he loved the food and the place and would love to come back.”

Eric Trump is flanked by YY Development Group chief executive Juan Jose Cugliandolo, left, and group owner Moises Yellati outside Trump Tower, which is under construction in Punta del Este, Uruguay, on Jan. 3. Its 154 apartments plus two penthouses are scheduled to be finished in late 2018. (YY Development Group/via AP)

But ethical experts say that the steps Donald Trump announced to facilitate such a separation, including placing his business into a trust overseen by Eric, Donald Trump Jr. and a longtime company executive, are not enough to eliminate concerns about conflicts of interest.

“Having refused to sever his own personal financial interests, [the president] is now sending his emissaries, his sons, out to line his own pockets, and he’s subsidizing that activity with taxpayer dollars,” said Norm Eisen, a former Obama administration ethics adviser who is part of a lawsuit accusing Trump of violating a constitutional provision barring presidents from taking payments from foreign governments.

“We’re going to have an amazing company, and he’s going to do amazing things for the United States,” he said to the local media. “He’s going to be an incredible commander in chief. And I’m not going to be involved in politics, and he’s not going to be involved in the business.”