Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C. (review)

To see how many folks would defriend me on Facebook, I decided to stay at the Trump Hotel (#1 ranked on TripAdvisor) during a recent business trip to D.C.

The hotel is located in one of the most impressive buildings in Washington, D.C., the 1899 Old Post Office. This became derelict by the 1970s and a 1983 revival attempt failed to turn it into a viable shopping mall. Trump leased it in 2013, fixed it up, and opened it as a hotel just in time for the 2016 coup d’etat (in which the rightful heiress to the U.S. throne failed to obtain it).

The ornate Trump style for which even he has mocked himself (see this 2004 episode of Saturday Night Live: “This place looks like the Liberace Museum”; “Who did your decorating? Saddam Hussein?”) works pretty well in an ornate Victorian-era building. Bring on the gold leaf!

Basic rooms are about $400/night (roughly 20 percent cheaper than comparably luxurious hotels). A pet is $50 extra. The bathroom featured enough marble to entomb a Communist leader (Bernie Sanders will eventually have his mausoleum here?).

A shaving kit was provided quickly and graciously by the front desk. The included razor was a three-blade Gillette, thus linking the Trump brand to a fight against toxic masculinity and to a celebration of transgenderism. Performance was truly terrible compared to anything made by Dorco.

The gym was huge (by hotel standards), with a full selection of weights, cardio, and other equipment. It was usually empty. Sadly, the gym restroom was not marked “all gender”:

Food in the hotel is served in the main glassed-over courtyard room. Breakfast is great, at typically high luxury hotel prices. The evening steakhouse is superb, with waitstaff who are obviously quite serious about cuisine. The Trump Organization does seem to have a knack for hiring great people. Everyone in the hotel is welcoming.

One nit: The courtyard, and therefore restaurants, is suffused with a soft techno-style thumping music. This might make sense at a W Hotel (which I can’t stand!) or in Miami, but Mozart string quartets would make a lot more sense given the decor.

My Facebook friends were outraged as predicted. A national bank “community relations” executive told me that the Trump hotels were her favorite and she would always try to get a room in a Trump property for any business trip to a city where the empires. She is even more passionate about her love for Obama and Hillary, however, and stopped patronizing Trump hotels in 2016.

A DC-based lawyer with whom I work said that he was a regular drinks/dining customer at the Trump D.C. hotel, but has shied away since Trump won the election.

Given that the intensity of Trump hatred among Democrats is much stronger than the intensity of Trump love among Republicans, I wonder if the narrative that Trump hotels are getting a boost in business from his presidency is false. Maybe there are some folks who think it is fun to be a Trump customer and perhaps there are some foreigners who think that Trump will do their bidding if they are regular guests. But these have to be outweighed by those who want to demonstrate their virtue by never setting foot in a Trump-named enterprise again.

(A friend at a local Harvard Club event was listening to a talk about negotiating difficult deals. The speaker said that one had to find something to “appreciate” about the person on the other side. Once that bond had been made it might be possible to make progress. As an example, then, he asked a woman in the audience “What can you appreciate about Donald Trump?” She answered immediately, and in a huff: “Nothing.” It doesn’t seem as though she will be a customer of Trump D.C. any time soon!)

Democrats have not explained how the influence would work. I would have loved it if the room had included a doorknob hang tag with the guest’s desired change to federal regulations (my pick: FAR 135.160!).

Some more views….


Full post, including comments

A tale of two tanks…

… as told by the New York Times and the Boston Herald.Pictures of the physical papers, courtesy of an FBO:

One difference is that the Trump-obsessed NYT put this story at the top left of the front page while the Herald buried it within the interior of the paper, saving the front page for local stories.

For folks who experienced this in person or on TV, how was the show in D.C. that got American newspapers so excited?

(Also, I think this is a perfect example of why living in the Washington, D.C. is great. Americans in Hawaii, Alaska, Kansas, etc., get taxed to pay for a free air/tank-show that can be consumed only by those who are physically in D.C.)

Separately, why do we have human-occupied tanks as part of our military? Wouldn’t it make more sense to have robotic/remote-controlled vehicles? Also, what chance do tanks stand against far more nimble anti-tank helicopters and airplanes (e.g., the Mi-24 or the A-10 Warthog)? Is the idea that we use tanks against lightly armed opponents, such as ISIS?

Full post, including comments

#Resist permanently on a D.C. public sidewalk

Here’s a scooter permanently parked on a public sidewalk in Washington, D.C. catty corner from the Trump Hotel (#1 ranked in Trip Advisor!):

Aside from the female sex symbol with a fist in the middle (does the use of biological sex symbols from Carl Linnaeus’s time show hostility to the transgendered?), the moped reads “Girls Just Wanna Have Fundamental Rights” and “A Girl Has No President”.

[The D.C. government (100 percent Democrats since at least the 1970s) has not seen fit to remove this obstruction to pedestrians. I wonder what would happen if a politically passionate person parked a second protest moped next to this one, reading “Build the Wall that you promised” on one side and a “Deport tens of millions of illegal immigrants that you promised to get rid of” on the other. Would the local officials be as tolerant of this use of public space?]

Full post, including comments

Democrats enjoy portraying Republicans as fearful

A Facebook friend linked to “Evangelicals Are Supporting Trump Out of Fear, Not Faith” (TIME) and the Hillarist faithful responded lovingly. The idea that Republicans are quivering fearfully is apparently delightful to them.

I wonder when this started. Has it always been a feature of American politics to portray opponents as acting or voting out of an irrational fear rather than because of a difference in interests?

If politicians truly believe this, wouldn’t they tone down their rhetoric quite a bit in order to soothe the fearful folks on the other side and try to win some votes? This is not what we observe. Is it that Democrats don’t actually believe that Republicans are fearful? Or Democrats don’t believe that any Republicans can be converted to the correct path? Or something else?

(Separately, the article opens with

On June 21, the writer E. Jean Carroll came forward with a vivid and disturbing claim that Donald Trump raped her in a department store in the 1990s. She is the 22nd woman to allege that Trump committed acts of sexual misconduct. These claims are more extensive and more corroborated than the accusations against Bill Clinton

so of course I had to respond with

He raises a good point. Until billionaire Republicans (even if Democrats at the time) stop raping elderly Democrats in public places, there can never be peace between the parties.


Another good rule is that atheist Jewish New Yorkers are the best authorities on how Christians in the South and Midwest think.

(the editor of TIME is Edward Felsenthal))

Full post, including comments

New York Times is the new Penthouse Forum for AARP Members?

A tale of an encounter in a department store dressing room with a rich famous guy in which both man and woman had to keep silent for fear that the dozens of nearby department store workers, including security personnel, would hear. For folks who were born well before the Internet porn revolution, that would be the summary of a letter to Playboy or Penthouse Forum (and ultimately the subject of scholarly analysis).

What’s different this time? The New York Times is competing with Playboy and Penthouse and the female in the story is 76 years old (but might have been as young as 52 at the time, still two years over the age of eligibility of membership in AARP).

What are we to make of the media interest in this tale?


Update: This is the top story in New Yorker magazine’s daily email:

The dressing room encounter turns out to be related to the undocumented:

I imagined that undocumented families would be openly and cruelly persecuted in America, and that there would be plans of mass raids and internment, and that as this was happening I would not be rioting in the street as I ought to but depressively checking things off my Google Calendar to-do list and probably writing a blog post about a meme. What I didn’t imagine, though—and what actually occurred last week—is that a respected and well-known writer would accuse the President of raping her, and that I would be so sad and numb, after years of writing about Trump’s many accusers, after watching Brett Kavanaugh get confirmed to the Supreme Court in the face of credible sexual-assault allegations, that I would not even have the courage to read the story for days.

… public figure accusing the President of rape is news. Even though Carroll is at least the twenty-second woman to accuse Trump of sexual misconduct, she is only the second to accuse him of rape. (The first was Ivana Trump, who later downplayed her story.)

(not mentioned is that Ivana Trump was an alimony and child support plaintiff at the time and a failure to attempt to use the domestic violence parallel track in a U.S. family court is typically a sign of poor legal advice; Plaintiff Ivana “downplayed” the story once she got the cash she was seeking)

If the President had ever convincingly espoused ideas of respect for people who are not like him, or of equal rights for women, it’s possible that he would be held accountable for his actions. Instead, he promised mass campaigns of cruelty against undocumented immigrants, and he is delivering. He said that he grabbed women by the pussy, and many women—twenty-two, so far—explained that, yes, he did that, or something like it, to them. Carroll’s essay—exceptional, devastating, decades in the making—has made me consider how hard it is to understand right away that you’ve been exhausted into submission, especially when submission and endurance feel inextricable.

The writer seems very concerned about the undocumented, but has she offered any concrete assistance to them? A room in her Manhattan apartment?

[On Facebook today, I saw a non-Jew holding a placard reading “End Family Separation. End Detention Camps. The Jewish Community Says This is a Moral Emergency.” I had to restrain myself from responding with “But not such a serious emergency that any of the members of the Yale Jewish Community would offer to shelter a migrant in their own houses?”]

Full post, including comments

Should Trump offer migrant children to those decrying the concentration camp system?

My Facebook feed is alive with the righteous condemning the U.S. government’s parking migrant “children” (some could be 25-30 years old as long as they say that they are under 18?) in concentration camps.

Would it make sense for the Federales to track down these folks and offer them the opportunity to host one or more migrant children in their own house?

In my experience, the offer of an actual migrant is typically refused by those who say that they welcome migrants. Here’s a recent interaction with a guy on Facebook who has a house large enough to share:

  • Him: Refugees need help now, not later. The basics. These are among the most vulnerable people in the world. I come from a family of refugees, and for my birthday let’s make their lives a little easier. [Fundraising link to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, the tax dollar-funded organization that enraged the guy who shot up the Pittsburgh synagogue (filled with Jews who may have disagreed with the current HIAS mission of bringing non-Jewish low-skill immigrants to the U.S.)]
  • Me: If you want to shelter a refugee family in your house for at least one year, and pay for their food and health care (so US taxpayers don’t have to), I will be happy to fund their airfare from Kabul, Beirut, or wherever else in the world you find these new Americans.
  • Him: this is a private charity [yet it is primarily taxpayer-funded!], not a political position. Donate or don’t. There is an abrasive black and white false dichotomy that you propose: Either take personal responsibility for an entire family of refugees or you’re a hypocrite. Bullshit! There are limits to what I am willing to do to help others, including refugees. That doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with doing something, even modest, to help the cause.
  • Me: Would you be willing to take one refugee for a year in your home? Masshealth will sell a comprehensive health insurance policy for $3/month if your refugee doesn’t work and I think he or she would also be entitled to food stamps. Remember that any refugee who is not sheltered in an existing house will be exacerbating what is already considered a critical shortage of affordable housing (caused by Trump, says HuffPost).
  • Him: I don’t think you understood my point at all. Is there any amount of money you personally would part with to help out a refugee?
  • Me: Yes! My standard offer is to fund airfare from Kabul, Beirut, or wherever else. So that’s about $2,000 per refugee. I also offered to pay $50,000 to charter a plane to take a caravan of refugees from Mexico to Canada (whose Prime Minister offered to take anyone rejected by the U.S.).

Readers: What do you think? Would the folks complaining about migrants being subject to crummy room and board be silenced if they were offered migrants to host?


Full post, including comments

A 7th grader wishes Happy Birthday to Donald Trump on Instagram

A friend’s 7th grader wished a Happy Birthday to Donald Trump on Instagram. This prompted some private messages with her classmates at our mostly-righteous-thinking public school.

Exchange 1 (some punctuation inserted):

  • He is not a leader he is a criminal
  • He’s the president. Why isn’t he in jail if he’s a criminal?
  • Because no one is brave or smart enough to arrest him.
  • So you’re calling Hillary dumb? Are you saying the Democratic Party shouldn’t be voted for because they aren’t smart enough or brave enough?
  • Hillary is not a rapist, racist, or ripping families apart at the border!

[When this girl grows up enough to have children, a Massachusetts family court will be happy to give her a substantial 23-year cash reward for ripping her own family apart…]

Exchange 2 (with a Jewish girl):

  • Disgusting
  • What’s the problem with Trump? Why don’t you have something against Obama?
  • Because Obama isn’t racist or a rapist.
  • Trump’s daughter converted to orthodox judaism. Isn’t that good?
  • U didn’t deny that hes a rapist. We may have the same religious but that doesn’t mean anything.
  • He’s not a racist. Where’s your proof?
  • In all of the women speaking out about what he has done.
Full post, including comments

Mexican democracy worse than Trump dictatorship

“How Trump’s Tariff Threat Could Outsource the Asylum Crisis to Mexico” (New Yorker) is kind of interesting. During Donald Trump’s election campaign and for the first year or two of his administration, nothing regarding immigration could fairly be described as a “crisis.” Yet now that Trump has been in office for a while, there is actually a “crisis.”

We are told by our media that the U.S. under Dictator Trump is one of the most oppressive environments ever created on Planet Earth. Refugees are separated from children, interned in concentration camps, sexually assaulted, and sometimes killed.

What could be worse than that? Day to day life within the area governed by our southern neighbor, the democracy of Mexico!

In theory, if not always in practice, the migrants returned under Remain in Mexico will have a chance to petition for asylum in the U.S. But, by the definition of a safe third-country agreement, asylum seekers travelling through Mexico would no longer be allowed to make their case to American authorities. By default, Mexico would become their final destination. Such a scenario would be highly controversial for legal and humanitarian reasons. For one thing, such an agreement is premised on the assumption that Mexico is a “safe” country in which migrants can seek asylum, even though the country has a well-documented history of mistreating migrants in its custody and of unlawfully turning them around at its southern border.

Doesn’t this sound like prejudice?


Full post, including comments

Trump Hotel in D.C. is rated #1 in TripAdvisor

While doing a bit of research for an upcoming trip to Washington, D.C., I found the following in TripAdvisor:

Bad (but fake?) news for folks, such as the attorney general of Maryland, who are suing the Donald over the emoluments clause of the Constitution:

  • The Trump International Hotel is #1 out of 147 hotels!
  • Travelers’ Choice
  • Certificate of Excellent!

Why is this bad? From AP:

Frosh and Racine, both Democrats, say hotels in Maryland and Washington have been harmed because foreign and state government officials are more likely to stay at Trump’s hotel in an attempt to curry favor with the Republican president.

Trump can argue that people are staying there simply because the hotel is ranked #1 by guests.

[As a virtuous citizen of Massachusetts, I plan to boycott this establishment, leased in 2012 and opened in 2016, and stay in a $200/night hotel instead.]

Full post, including comments