The signage for the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., was removed Wednesday night as the former president’s hotel is set to become a Waldorf Astoria later this year.
Former President Donald Trump’s Washington hotel opened in Sept. 2016, weeks before he won the November election. His company had signed a 60-year lease with the government for the property in 2013.
Located on Pennsylvania Ave., the hotel was a magnet for Trump officials and supporters, but it faced controversy before even opening. In 2015, chef José Andrés pulled out of plans to open a restaurant in the hotel, citing Trump’s statements about Mexicans.
Trump was accused of using the hotel to bill lobbyists and foreign countries who hoped to curry favor with his administration.
The hotel received more than $3.7 million from foreign governments between 2017 and 2020, according to the House Oversight Committee, and hosted events for groups with connections to countries including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait.
Public officials visited the hotel 973 times while Trump was president, more than any other Trump company property, according to a report from Citizens for Ethical Government, or CREW, a government watchdog group that covered Trump.
“Donald Trump should never have been allowed to keep his D.C. hotel as president,” CREW president Noah Bookbinder said in a statement last year about reports the hotel would be sold. “He should have divested himself of it along with the rest of his businesses before taking office. Instead, he rode out four years of using it for influence peddling and constitutional violations.”
The hotel has cleared out this spring ahead of a planned summer reopening under Hilton. BLT Prime, the only restaurant Trump ate at while president (his order was shrimp cocktail, fries and a well-done steak with ketchup, according to Washingtonian) closed in April.
The hotel also once housed a boutique for Brioni, the Italian menswear brand Trump wore, but it left in March for Washington’s upscale CityCenterDC.
Oversight Committee chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said Wednesday in a statement that the hotel’s sale was “the latest in a long line of questionable deals, conflicts of interest and constitutional violations involving former President Trump and his Washington, D.C., hotel.”
“The former president will personally receive tens of millions of dollars in profits from selling his lease at a significant premium over market rates, yet the American public still does not know whose money is paying for this deal,” Maloney said.
The investment management firm CGI Merchant Group acquired the lease for the hotel and announced Wednesday it would partner with Hilton.
Known as the Old Post Office Building, the former Trump hotel was once Washington’s post office, and it’s the second tallest building in the city, after the Washington Monument.