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Does Washington’s Trump Hotel buy American? |

Does Washington’s Trump Hotel buy American?

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President Donald Trump has led the effort to ‘Buy American,’ but that isn’t necessarily the case in his own Washington hotel.
USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — President Trump wants the federal government to buy American, but his hotel down the street from the White House falls short on that directive.

The four-story American flag in the lobby towers over Swarovski chandeliers made in Austria.

Lamps lining the hallway are from China. Small decorative boxes on the coffee tables are marked with stickers that read “Made in India.”

The discoveries are seemingly at odds with the Buy American and Hire American executive order that the president issued April 18. In a speech that same day in Wisconsin, Trump said he wanted the federal government to “minimize the use of waivers and to maximize made in America content in all federal projects.”

► May 5: Trump’s call to ‘Buy American’ isn’t boosting sales of U.S. goods
► April 29: On his 100th day in office, Trump orders review of free trade agreements

“With this order I am directing every single agency in our government to strictly uphold our buy-American laws,” Trump said.

However, a stay in one of the $800-a-night rooms showed his hotel wasn’t maximizing made-in-America products and was instead a United Nations of luxury.


Phones in the room were made in Malaysia. The TV was from South Korea. A tray was made in the United Kingdom.

Towels were from India. Soaps and shampoos came from Canada. The plush robe was made in China.

The dishes were from Germany and the glasses from Italy. The sheets and comforter also were made in Italy although the Sterns and Foster mattress and its pillows were American made.

Other American-made products in the room: the Bible, clock, trash can and big-ticket items such as high-end bathroom fixtures and furniture.

In all, about two-thirds of more than 30 products that WUSA-TV special assignment reporters could identify came from outside the USA:

• Austria. Chandeliers
• Canada. Soaps, shampoos
• China. Hair dryer, lamps, remote control, robe, scale, umbrella
• Germany. Dishes
• India. Towels
• Italy. Glasses, sheets
• Malaysia. Phones
• South Korea. TV
• United Kingdom. Ice bucket, tissue container, tray

The White House Press Office did not respond when asked multiple times for comment.

The use of foreign-made products is strictly a business decision, said Patricia Tang, a Trump Hotel spokeswoman.

► April 25: Alibaba launches program to help 1 million U.S. businesses sell to China
► April 17: Trump to sign ‘Buy American, Hire American’ executive order

“Trump Hotels has nothing to do with the White House administration,” Tang said. “We function like any other hotel.”

And a wide array of products in the hotel industry do come from overseas, said officials at Import Genius, a company based in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands that helps businesses connect with suppliers worldwide.

Since 2015 Trump properties have imported goods from countries around the globe, chief executive Michael Kanko said.

► March 15: GM announces 900 jobs as Trump visits Detroit
► Feb. 16: UAW head backs ‘Buy American’ campaign, praises Trump

“So if his competitors are importing products and bringing costs down, it doesn’t leave his organization much choice,” Kanko said. “It would be hard for him to be competitive and not deal with global trade.”

Here’s a sampling of what Trump Hotels’ competitors are importing, Kanko said:

Caesars Entertainment (CZR)

• Caesars Entertainment Caesar’s Palace import furniture and novelty goods from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
• Harrahs purchases lighting fixtures through Sesco Lighting, which imports from China.
• Planet Hollywood imports novelty items toiletries from Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Choice Hotels International (CHH)

• Choice Hotels purchases towels from 1888 Mills, which imports from Mitali Textile in Bangladesh.
• Comfort Inn imports vanities, cabinets and furniture from China.
• Clarion Hotels import lighting fixtures from China.
• Econolodge imports hotel amenities such as lotion, shampoo and soap from China.
• Quality Inn imports cabinets, curtains, fans and tables from China.
• Rodeway Inn imports furniture from China and India.

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)

• The Venetian imports furniture and lighting fixtures from China and Indonesia.

MGM Resorts International

• Aria Hotel imports dinnerware from China.
• The Bellagio imports amenities and  furniture from China, Hong Kong, Italy and Taiwan.
• Circus Circus imports toys from China and Hong Kong.
• Mandalay Bay imports playing cards and exhibition goods from Hong Kong and Italy.
• MGM Grand imports playing cards from Japan.
• MGM Resorts imports furniture, lighting fixture, and novelty goodsfrom Great Britain, Hong Kong and Spain.
• Monte Carlo imports novelty goods from Hong Kong.

Starwood Hotels, now part of Marriott International (MAR)

• Le Méridien Hotels import linens and furniture from Brazil and China.
• Sheraton purchases furniture from Shenzhen New World LLC, which imports from Xiamen Yongquan SCI Tech in China.

The Trump International Hotel Washington is privately held, and ultimately the president’s Trump Organization owns it through a holding company, leasing the real estate through the federal government.

Every Republican congressman in Maryland and Virginia declined to comment on the hotels’ purchase of imports.

► 2014: ‘Made in America’ not easy for retailers to deliver on
► 2013: Foreign manufacturers bringing jobs to U.S.

But Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va. and the Democratic nominee for vice president in the 2016 election, called the use of foreign goods and services in Trump hotels hypocritical.

“If the president really supported buy America, that’s what he would do with his own businesses,” Kaine said.

Follow Eric Flack on Twitter: @EricFlackTV

 

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